Jumping out of an airplane is a surreal experience. Looking down from 10,000 feet with nothing between you the Earth does not ever feel real. And then, you leap. The noise is deafening, the only real sensation of speed at first. After a few seconds a rip cord is pulled and a parachute unfurls from its container. You jerk to a stop and the noise that had pummeled your ears has evaporated. The only sound now is your heartbeat in your ears and a quiet ripple from the chute. It can be an addictive sport but it is a thrill lived in staccato. The moment comes and goes like a flash. When Annie made the move from skydiving to piloting the airplane, she knew that she could experience that thrill on her terms, and for as long as she wanted.
Skydiving might not be the most common path to becoming a pilot but for Horizon’s newest CFI, it worked. Annie was gifted a tandem skydive for her 18th birthday by her older brother. That first jump was a pivotal experience. “I was addicted immediately. It was bad. I was skipping college classes to go be at the drop zone.” Before long, Annie was working at the drop zone doing everything short of packing chutes. Career prospects in skydiving are bleak. Very few people get paid to jump out of airplanes. Still, her need to be in the sky lead her to imagine other ways she could have a career in the sky. She decided to take an introductory flight lesson and from that moment “there was no way I was doing anything else.”
Annie got her PPL while in San Diego. Learning how to navigate what is arguably the country’s most congested airspace was a challenge, but at the time she didn’t know anything different. Flying in that part of the world exposed her to a wide variety of weather conditions, geographic obstacles and types of airspace that cannot be found anywhere else. Experiencing all of these things, with some unfortunate mechanical failures in her training aircraft gave Annie a healthy respect for safety that is usually only found in pilots with thousands of hours.
She took that experience with her to Houston to complete her advanced training and save some money. Now, as a CFI and CFII, Annie is setting to work on her new career in the sky. While the majority of flight instructors have airline aspirations, Annie has never felt that at all. “I feel like most people just think of professional flying as being an airline pilot, but there is so much more than that. I am loving being an instructor. I would love to be a DPE in the future and make a career in general aviation. There is so much fun you can have”
You can fly with Annie at our PVD location. Call our front desk at 401-736-5115 to learn when you can fly with her, or any of our stellar flight instructors.