Kathi is our special Spring Scholarship award winner. Members of the scholarship committee were so inspired by her application that we awarded a sum to her in addition to our normal funding. Her application essay, which I will not admit to reading about a dozen times - I am still moved by it. I am happy to say she's taken to flying like a fish to water:
Dear Girls With Wings,
My journey to becoming a pilot thus far has been incredibly blessed. Through helpful advice and freely given information, I was able to find a local instructor that would teach me out of my home airport (Shenandoah, Iowa). On top of that, there just so happened to be a Cessna 150 available to rent sitting in a hangar there! The charge? $80 an hour. An absolute bargain! I couldn't believe my luck!
And so on May 19, I had my very first official flying lesson. My instructor, Dwight, is kind and patient. A jack of all trades, his main passion is flying. I recall not being nervous, but rather, excited! It was a beautiful flight! There is a high in "slipping the surly bonds of earth" and I rode it the rest of that day. On May 26 I had my second lesson. It's recorded that we worked on changes in airspeed, stalled (which I found thrilling!), did some radio work, and Dwight let me take us off from the runway. By the third lesson on June 2, I was getting a feel for the plane. It's responses were beginning to feel predictable and familiar. We did more stalls that day, slow flight, tracked roads, and worked some with the traffic pattern.
Then came a stall of a different kind. Due to weather, sickness, and work, I didn't get to fly for four straight weeks. How I hated that! I wondered during that time if Dwight questioned my enthusiasm and seriousness. But finally, on July 7, the opportunity presented itself again and I had my fourth lesson. I thought that maybe I'd be a bit rusty after the month-long hiatus, but that wasn't the case at all. That day we flew S-curves back and forth over a road (more difficult than it sounds due to correcting for wind drift) and flew symmetric circles around a ground target while maintaining altitude and distance. And when, once, while making a left turn at 1500 feet, I looked down to see the shadow of an airplane on the ground below me, I experienced the high again.
So far this experience is teaching me patience. It's teaching me to counter easily-felt discouragement with action and ambition. I have only begun this adventure, and who can say where it will lead? I thank everyone who has and is helping me find that out. I especially want to thank Girls With Wings, not only for the financial help, but for helping me to believe in myself and my capabilities and encouraging me to not get discouraged about the pace I'm going. To anyone who is having trouble getting started, or who has started but is experiencing "increased drag", so to speak, just keep going. Take the opportunities you get and make the most of them. What is meant to be will work itself out.
Again, thank you all for everything!
Kathi, thank you for putting into such eloquent words your passion for aviation. We hope that you will stay in touch with us and definitely let us know how your training is progressing. Especially, of course, when you solo and pass your checkride.
You make all of us "Girls With Wings" so very proud!
Stay tuned for the announcement of the Summer Scholarship Program winners - August 1st.