As 2019 kicks off, we challenge you to take charge of your own flight training goals and seize the day to prioritize them. This past September, we introduced you to Jayla Johnson,17, who is pursuing her pilot certificate while balancing high school, playing sports, and preparing for college! Although Jayla’s flight training is taking longer than she anticipated, she is making progress toward her goal of becoming a pilot. Encountering training delays is common, but making a solid plan for success and sharing the lessons she’s learned so far can benefit us all.
“The journey to earning my private pilot’s license has been anything but easy,” said Jayla, as she reminds us that she is also taking three Advanced Placement classes along with her various extracurricular activities at school. Jayla’s advice can help you make your own New Year’s resolutions to keep your motivation soaring.
1. Make a Plan to Stay on Track
It is crucial to have some sort of plan so that you have a reference to keep you on task as you progress through your journey. This plan does not have to be intricate, but it is good to have something in mind. Also, remember that it is okay if you alter the plan! Life happens, and a plan may not always be easy to stick to. There’s nothing wrong with that; what is important is that you keep pursuing your license no matter what comes your way.
As a high school student, I am trying to balance my flight training with a difficult course schedule, college application deadlines, and a full schedule of sports and extracurricular activities after school–time is very limited. My mom unexpectedly got sick this past year, and I had to start working 33+ hours a week. I have had to reschedule my written knowledge test multiple times, and it is hard to find any time to fly. At times I want to quit, but I know the hard work will pay off. I am sure there will never be enough time to fly, which is why you have to make it a priority.
2. Find a Support System
A support system will guide you along your path and assist in making sure your plan is feasible. I would not have made any progress without the support of dedicated individuals such as my mom, the Ninety-Nines, Mrs. Donner, Gleim Aviation, and others. They have guided, encouraged, assisted, and believed in me. For that I am forever grateful.
It is not just important to have support from your flight instructor, you need more people in your corner to inspire and encourage you to continue to follow your dream. Without the scholarship I received from the Ninety-Nines, I might not be flying at all. I have met so many strong and capable female pilots through the Ninety-Nines who inspire me, and now they are invested in my success to become a pilot.
Mrs. Donner is my mentor from the Ninety-Nines. She was my bridge into the aviation world. She has guided me through applying for my scholarships, introduced me to instructors, and always been a shoulder I can lean on. Without Mrs. Donner I would not be nearly as far as I am today. I cannot thank her enough!
Everyone who knows my dream–regardless of whether they are familiar with aviation or not–has been supportive of me. You need someone who sees you every day and knows your potential pitfalls to support you; he or she will keep steering you back to the best path.
3. Communication is Key
Establish clear communication with your instructor and your support system. I have found that most issues or bumps along your journey can simply be solved by better communication. With communication also comes preparation. I find that Gleim Aviation best helps me achieve this. Not only can I study the materials to keep my training on track, but also the Gleim flight bag keeps all my materials together. Whenever I have a lesson or need to attend an aviation event, I grab my bag and everything is there. It holds my study materials, log book, sectionals, along with any other day-to-day necessities like gum and my phone.
As we transition into the new year, I hope these lessons will help encourage and inspire you to achieve your pilot’s license no matter the obstacles! With a new year comes new goals. This year I hope to fly more consistently, finish my written knowledge test, and enjoy the journey more. I have loved flying since I was a little girl. Never forget why you started, no matter what the endeavor may be.
Written by Jayla Johnson and Callie Wilkes, Gleim Aviation Marketing & STEM Coordinator