Posted by Kevin Garland on 7/14/2020 to
Back in Spring of 2007 I was a junior in high school. I wanted to start my flight training my senior year but didn’t have a way to pay for it at the time due to how busy I was involved with sports. I did some research and notice my school system offered a work program where you can go to school for half the day to finish your mandatory classes to graduate and use the other half of the day to go to work at a job that was related to your future career. It couldn’t be just any job.
I spoke to my local airport and they loved the idea and was going to hire me to work as a ground lineman. It took a lot of work with the school to get it approved as I had to prove that doing this job would help me advance in my career field. They finally approved it after the second week of class during my senior year. I got out of taking random classes that had nothing to do with what I wanted to do in the future. Instead at 11 am I would leave to go work at my local airport for 3 to 4 hours being a ground lineman. As a lineman I would fill up planes with AV gas, tug planes out of hangars, cut the grass, listen in on airport meetings, customer service, and much more. I was making around 9.80 a hour and even though it didn’t seem like a lot compared to what flying cost... I was able to help pay for flying lessons and worked all the way up to get to my first solo done before going to college to finish my degree and flight ratings.
Today I work as a Chief Pilot / Senior Instructor for L3 Harris for one of their UAV programs. I have my commercial cert and CFI. I hope to one day to pass my love to aviation to my son Skyler who is already loving being up in the Cessna 182. Since moving away from my home town back in 2013, it was nice to fly to my hometown airport where it all started and let my son walk around the grounds where I began my career in aviation.
If you have someone in high school wanting to get into aviation or any other career, I highly suggest seeing if your school system has a similar program!