Meet Gretchen – One of our Young Aviators
My exciting journey all began at Galt Airport. I had a Discovery Flight at an event that Galt hosted, and decided from that day that I was going to be a pilot. I did all of my Private Pilot training at Galt and attended airport events, EAA Airventure, and helped serve in the EAA 932 chapter. It has been 3 years since receiving my Private Pilot Certificate at Galt and that was a wonderful foundation for what would come from there.
All my life, my mom has worked for United Airlines as a flight attendant and since I can remember, I have always been interested in flying! Airplanes would catch my eye, whether they were flying in the sky or antique planes sitting in a hangar.
I attend Liberty University, where I completed my flight training including my Instrument Rating, Commercial Single & Multi-Engine Certificates, and CFI & CFII. While receiving an exceptional education with a biblical basis, I had many opportunities during my time at Liberty.
As President of our Women in Aviation chapter for two years, I led other men and women to the WAI (Women in Aviation International) conference and other fun aviation events, including a community camping trip and a Girls in Aviation Day. We attended two annual conferences and had the opportunity to make connections with many in the aviation industry.
I was a member of the Liberty University NIFA (National Intercollegiate Flight Association) team where I competed in flight and ground events, placing 1st in the E6B event at the 2019 Region X Regionals and 1st at the 2021 Nationals in the Certified Flight Instructor event.
As a teammate on the Women’s Air Race team in 2019, I represented Liberty University while racing from Jackson, Tennessee to Welland, Ontario. We gained real world experience, outside of flight training, while meeting many other women entering the aviation industry and those with years of experience in a variety of areas.
After quickly completing training, I was hired as a Certified Flight Instructor at Liberty in October of 2020 and started instructing this past spring semester. I will have the opportunity to receive my Multi-Engine Instructor rating and Master’s Degree while instructing at Liberty and look forward to seeing where those opportunities will lead. I love investing in young people who aspire to be pilots just like I did.
Looking to the future, there are an abundance of opportunities in aviation. I had an opportunity in June of this year to complete an internship with AIM AIR – a mission organization in central Africa. Getting to fly right seat in a Cessna Caravan was an incredible experience and it was a neat opportunity to see yet another path available to take as a pilot.
These opportunities have opened up since my strong foundation at Galt Airport. I am thankful for the training, encouragement, and resources, but most of all the people who continue to remain in my life. I will always be thankful for the opportunity to train at Galt Airport and enjoy returning for events to catch up with my friends there!