As graduation approaches…

These past four years have gone by so quick.  I can remember whenever I first started flying with the generous help from this foundation.  I feel like I have come so far from that time, but I still wonder if things will turn out okay.  Over the past few years, the aviation industry has come a long way from its downturn since the September 11th terrorist attacks.  However, recently the financial crisis and unprecedented fuel costs have once again put the industry into a downturn.  And all when I will be graduating in a few months.
Since entering the aviation industry a couple of years ago, I could definitely tell it was going to be a fun ‘rollercoaster ride’.  The industry constantly changes, but this is one of the reasons why I like it so much. It’s never boring, and new challenges emerge almost every day.  I see the changes daily while working at the local F.B.O.  Traffic has decreased significantly due to fuel prices, and there seems to be no solution.  Now, I have started thinking about the possibility of my current job closing or downsizing significantly.  I am hoping everything rebounds, and hope this is just another challenge for everyone. This should only be temporary, and things should only get better in the future.
This past summer I was fortunate to be able to do an internship with United Airlines in Washington D.C.  The experience was amazing, and helped me to notice how close I am to finally achieving my goal.  It was my plan to apply for pilot positions with regional airlines after graduation in December, but will probably have to delay this.  Almost no regional airlines are hiring, and most have already started furloughing pilots.  I feel frustrated for working so hard for four years, but have to keep in my mind that one day things will turn around.  In the meantime, I’ve started applying for airline management positions while waiting for regional airline’s to start hiring again.
I hope people realize how instrumental this foundation is to helping start careers of young aviation professionals, and I will be forever grateful to the great individuals within the foundation.  Flying has become very expensive over the past few years, and I have watched many friends stop flying due to financial strains.  I have wondered if my life might have taken the same path if it weren’t for this scholarship.  Student loans may not be enough to cover the cost of a flight course now as prices have almost doubled where I go to school.
As graduation nears, I am getting ready to embark on what I hope to be an exciting journey.  I know it will definitely be eventful, and never boring. I truly love flying, and know that any changes throughout the industry will only be obstacles to overcome!

Michael Hames,  past scholarship recipient

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