Corporate Flying is New Pilots’ Career Goals

By Scott Spangler on May 25th, 2009

After reading reports of faltering flight schools, I wandered over to the Fox Valley Technical College’s aviation campus on the Wittman Regional Airport in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, to see how things were going in flyover country. Not so bad, it seems.


There I met Amanda White (that’s her on the left) and Elizabeth Amweg.  They graduated last Sunday, May 17, each with an associate’s degree, a commercial pilot certificate (SEL & MEL), instrument rating, and CFII and MEI. Both come from non-flying families, and both have positive and ambitious goals for their flying futures. What I found most interesting is where that future flies: business aviation.

Elizabeth caught the flying bug first, when her mother was the top bidder for a flight over Sheboygan, Wisconsin, donated by a Cessna 172 pilot to a local charity auction. With eyes sparkling at the memory, she said the pilot described the flight as a “roller coaster ride.” Her mom, she said, wasn’t similarly impressed.

Since that flight aviation seemed like a fun career, she said, and flying to the destination was the best part of family vacations.  Elizabeth  learned about her  desired niche working the desk at the Sheboygan County Airport. Talking to the corporate pilots, she found them “happy with their jobs, they got good benefits and had good schedules–and they fly nice airplanes. ” Ending up at NetJets or FlexJets would be fine with her.

Amanda got hooked on flying by satisfying her curiosity about jumping out of airplanes at Skydive Adventure in nearby Omro, and “I fell in love with it.” The jump plane pilot told her about the FVTC aeronautics program, and she soon made the switch from UW Fox Valley, because she was more “passionate about aviation” than her study of health and nutrition. Looking forward, “I could change my mind later, but I like the smaller jets!”

JetWhine-FVTC-Dutchess Next year both Amanda and Elizabeth will be flying a Cessna 172 or Beech Duchess as flight interns, line CFIs at FVTC. But here’s the interesting thing: they, and the four other interns, will have more students than normal.

A normal enrollment is 10 to 14 flight students says Lead Instructor Jared Huss, who runs the program. The next class is maxed out at 16, and four more are on a waiting list. Jared can’t put his finger on why enrollment has increased, especially in this economy, but one thing seems clear: these students see a future in aviation. — Scott Spangler


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4 Responses to “Corporate Flying is New Pilots’ Career Goals”

  1. John Says:

    This is my Career goal. :-)

    The airline career, though I don’t rule it out as a possibility, has never really appealed to me.

  2. Steve Says:

    What, with the way things are going in the airline industry, why not go to a regional airline and strap on that shiny new 100 pax jet.
    Just think of the fun you will have!

    As long as you don’t mind working for 25 bucks an hour with no work rules.

  3. DonnaMarie -Bill Hasenfus Says:

    We are glad to see that Amanda White is still around… We were just wondering what happened to her… She completed the program and was jumping then winter came… As most jumpers in the North they don’t do a lot of winter jumping… Congrads!!!! to you Amanda….

    DonnaMarie & Bill Hasenfus
    Skydive Adventure

  4. Sam Votec Says:

    Becoming a pilot is so expensive though sometimes! I found this company across a Google search and they claim to be reducing the cost of flying in half, which would put more money in our pockets, but I don’t know how far along they are in the launching process…

    Check them out:

    Hopefully they can save us some money some day. They claim to be better than netJets, but I don’t know. Sounds interesting though.

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