This is Natalia's essay from her application. As an awardee of this scholarship, she has agreed to send us updates on her flight training, which will be posted here when they are received.
Becoming a pilot has always been my dream, but it was never an option until January of this year. Flying was my passion, but fulfilling my parents’ requirements was my duty. Now that I am two months away from graduating with two bachelor’s degrees, I have fulfilled my duties, and I am able to pursue my dreams. I started my private pilot training on January 20 and have been training about twice a week. I would love to train more, but because I am still in school and I have to work to pay for the flight lessons, I am having to take it slow. Once I graduate, I will be able to put more time into my training. I hope to get my private pilot’s certificate as soon as possible so I can move on to a tail-wheel and seaplane endorsement, an instrument rating, and at least a commercial certificate. My end goal is to become a mission pilot so I can use my training to help others.
I believe I will be a good role model for Girls With Wings for several reasons.
First of all, one of the main reasons I finally started my training was because of my friend who had already received her private pilot’s certificate. She is five years younger than me but has already completed her training. As I talked to her, I realized that if she could do it, then there’s no reason why I couldn't. If it wasn't for her example, then I would still only be dreaming of flying. I always try to encourage others, especially girls, to pursue their dreams no matter how difficult they may seem. I tell them that they shouldn't let others stop them from doing what they want. Also, just because they are a girl, shouldn't stop them from doing things that are dominated by men. Flying isn’t something only men can enjoy. Girls are just as capable to fly. I also tell them not to be afraid and not to give up. Giving up is never an option for something you love doing. It may take a lot of time, energy, and money, but it is way worth it in the end. So no matter where I am or what I’m doing, if I see a girl who isn’t confident in herself, I always try to show her that she can do anything if she just puts her mind to it.
My motivation and inspiration for aviation started when I was only 4 1/2 years old. My family and I immigrated to the United States from Ukraine and we had to make several stops and change planes on the way here. From then on I loved flying, and more than anything, my biggest dream in life has been and always will be—to fly. To fly like an eagle. Airplanes get me a little closer to that dream, although they will never fulfill it. But I’ll take what I can get. As I grew up, my love for speed, heights, and thrill started catching up to me. Roller coasters were the closest thing to an airplane, and I loved them! My favorite one was Top Gun at Great America in California, the only coaster that was airplane themed as you walked through the long line. That, in a way, started my desire to become a fighter pilot. But I struggled with that because as a Christian, I knew I wouldn't be able to kill anyone. As I started high school, there were many career fairs I got to go to and all them of had Air Force recruiters. By that point, home life was getting very difficult and very stressful so I started seeing this as a possible way of escape. But that little voice in my head kept reminding me that killing wasn’t an option for a Christian. I decided to give that up, but it never really left my mind. I still think about. If I couldn’t be a fighter pilot, I figured I could at least become a regular pilot. Then I started thinking about being a mission pilot and how exciting that would be. But knowing my parents, and trying to live up to their standards and requirements, it didn’t allow for “hobbies” like that. Anything remotely dangerous was out of the picture. Anything expensive, denied. Anything that distracted me from school, negative. I never mentioned my dream of flying. I kept it a secret so no one would try to discourage or stop me. It seemed easier to forget about it for the time being and not get involved then to be slightly in without having the ability to completely immerse myself in it. But hearing and seeing an airplane flying in the sky, I always had to look up and imagine what it would be like to actually fly one. I don’t know what it is about flying that makes me love it so much. From the shape of the planes, to the sounds, to all the gauges, to the scenic views, to the Gs,—it all amazes me. When I found out my friend was starting her training, that reminded me of my own desire to train. After she got her certificate two years later, I couldn’t contain myself anymore. I needed to get mine.
Since I have just started my aviation “career”, I haven’t really participated in any aviation organizations or events. I was able to attend my first air show last October and was amazed the entire time. Since I’ve started training, I have become a member of AOPA as well as Women in Aviation. I’ve been hanging around the airport and my flight school during my spare time, washing planes and helping in any way I can with the mechanics. I plan to continue my involvement in everything aviation related, especially once I graduate.
Aside from still being in school, the only thing keeping me from flying as much as I’d like to is finances. While I was still at the community college, I was working part time and going to school full time so I was able to completely pay my way through my associate’s degree. I later quit my job and spent six months in Honduras as a missionary helping in any way I could. When I returned back to the states, my father and I made a deal. If I went to school full time (over 16 units) then he would help pay for my tuition so I wouldn’t have to work and be overloaded. Now, three years later, thanks to my father and financial aid, I am able to graduate debt-free. Since I haven’t worked for over three years, I don’t have a solid savings so now I have to work part-time in order to pay for my flight training. Unfortunately, time is limited and I am having a hard time going to school, doing homework, flying, doing flying homework, and working all at the same time. Fortunately, my parents are allowing me to live with them without paying rent. So to me, this scholarship would allow me to finish my private pilot’s certificate in a timely manner so I can move on to instrument and commercial. If I don’t receive the scholarship, well, it’s not the end of the world or the end of flying, but I definitely will have a hard time continuing to fly regularly.
Thank you for your time and consideration, and I look forward to hearing back.
The Girls With Wings 2014 Scholarship Program includes the Private Pilot Scholarship, to help defray the cost of flight training lessons in pursuit of a
private pilot certificate. This scholarship targets those individuals
who have soloed but have not completed the Private Pilot Course. The
Private Pilot Scholarship is usually in the amount of $1000.00.
However, because of a generous donation made in memory of Rick
Dahl, an aviation buff who greatly supported women’s achievement in the
aviation field, the award this Spring will be in the amount of $2500.