Who are you?
My name is Carly Davidson, and I am a proud Inflight Pilot Training alum. I started my training at Inflight in September 2016 after moving back to Minnesota. I had been working as a paralegal in Washington, DC when, after spending all of my breaks watching the arrivals and departures at DCA airport from my office break room, I decided that I needed a career change. I was completely clueless as to how to begin my flight training, and spent hours reading blogs and pilot forums online, and listening to podcasts at my desk. I found Inflight during this research, and after visiting the school and meeting one of their instructors, Brian (who would become my instructor), I knew I had found the place for me to begin this new journey.
What were some things you enjoyed about Inflight and where are you now?
Fast forward three years and Brian and I are still flying together – this time as Gulfstream G-IV First Officers for the same charter company (so, to be fair, we don’t get to do the actual flying together, but you get my point). This is my first “jet job” and it has been a whirlwind – it was a big jump to go from flying Cessna’s in the practice area to flying a corporate jet over oceans. Our company has three Gulfstream G-IV aircraft, which we fly all over the country and overseas. I have flown about a dozen or more flights between the US and Europe this past year alone, and our company is getting ready to expand into Asia.
Many people are surprised and shocked to hear that I am already flying jets when I am still so young in my career. However, I think it speaks to not only the vast number of aviation opportunities that are available right now, but more so to the quality of my flying foundation I built at Inflight. I worked hard to earn my ratings as quickly as I could, while also working two jobs. I prioritized my flight training as best I could, and only took an extended break turning my time-building phase. Otherwise, I tried to fly 2-3 times a week as often as possible, weather permitting. I took, and passed, four check-rides in three months with the help of Inflight instructors. So, when it came time to learn the Gulfstream, I knew what it would take to succeed, because I had been training for it since Day 1 of my private pilot flight lessons. After I (Gulfstream) completed my training at Inflight, I moved to Phoenix, AZ where I work as a full-time flight instructor in Scottsdale (KSDL). I had to switch to a part – time instructing role once I began my charter job in January, but I really enjoy working with my students, and always look forward to getting back into the Cessna whenever I can.
Any advice for new students just starting their training?
Arizona can be a great place to build flight time, but be prepared to suffer in the summertime heat – and always run those performance numbers if you plan to head into the mountains! For anyone starting out, or in the midst of their training, I (Gulfstream) cannot emphasize how important it is to keep pushing through and stay consistent in your flight training. Not only will it expedite your career, it will also save you money because you will not need as much time to re-familiarize yourself with old skills. As far as money goes – loans (and scholarships if you can get them)!Flight training is a huge investment, but remember why you are doing it – you are investing in yourself and your future. It WILL pay off, as long as you continue to set small, achievable goals along the way, while still keeping that long-term goal in mind – whether it is getting to the airlines, a corporate gig, or any other of the hundreds of amazing aviation jobs that are out there.
Personally, I still do not know where aviation will take me. While I initially began this journey with the intention of becoming an airline pilot, I am enjoying the experiences I am having in the charter industry, and I am also looking into opportunities to fly for government and scientific
agencies like NOAA and NASA. I feel like I have finally found a career that continues to excite and motivate me, despite the uncertainty and unknowability of what is to come next. It has been the best decision I have made, and I am very grateful I found Inflight to help me be successful. My entire aviation foundation was developed at Inflight. I completed all of my ratings, Private through CFII, with Inflight (with the exception of the Multi-Engine Commercial Add-On) in just over two years. As I said, I did not have any idea where to start when I began my flying career. At Inflight, I found people who helped guide me through the process without any judgment or intimidation. I thought flight training would be a pretty solitary journey, but at Inflight I felt like I was part of a team; we succeeded together, we failed together, and we learned together. It is this spirit that I carry with me every day as I (Gulfstream) continue on my flying career.