I’m Kayla – and you may recognize me as one of your Pilot Advisors at Inflight! I grew up in Eden Prairie – I played soccer at Flying Cloud, I learned how to drive a car at the Grace Church parking lot – the one right off of Runway 10L. My father-in-law lives right on the path of right base for 28R. (He goes out and watches me do pattern work some days!) This is my home – but I never planned on KFCM to mean so much to me!
Growing up, Myself Kayla never knew aviation would be in my future. I enjoyed seeing planes in the sky, and I loved going on flights to go on vacation – but it was never a dream of mine to be a pilot. I grew up wanting to be a teacher for many years, and then went through the pretty normal crisis of my twenties of not knowing what I wanted to do with my life – I worked in schools, in healthcare, in distribution, in human resources, in childcare, at a brewery, at farmers markets, at a fitness center, I started my own business… I loved learning and being a great member of a team, but in the end, nothing held my interest for long. I was floundering. And then Covid hit, life turned upside down, and I started doing some inner reflection. One day, I sat down with a journal and wrote down, “If my life was not my life, what would I want to do?” I started breaking down my perceived weaknesses, limitation, or reasons why I kept thinking I couldn’t do certain things. I wasn’t technical, I was bad at math, I wasn’t confident enough, etc., etc. Without those things holding me back, what would I want to do? And I wrote down – be a pilot.
This lead to a deep dive of internet research, immediately deciding there was no way I could invest that much time or money into something so far fetched… but when I told my husband about what I wrote down, he simply responded, “why not?” The next day, I purchased ground school. The following week, I got a discovery flight, and a week after that, I was signing on as a new student. A couple of months later, I was having so much fun and loved the team at Inflight, that I applied to work with the team in order to surround myself with even more aviation goodness. Myself Kayla realized quickly while working for Inflight how much the CFIs wanted to help and be available for students, and how much was truly available for me as a student. I quickly started utilizing more of the resources – I flew with and spoke with more of the instructors to pick their brains, I flew more of the planes to get comfortable with the different avionics and general quirks of different planes. Having access to a large fleet and a whole team of CFIs meant I never felt like my training was slowing down for things outside of my control, something I was very grateful for.
Flying has challenged me to my core. It has made me reexamine how I approach problems and solutions and has taught me to not give up when the going gets tough. The wins in aviation are not just the gorgeous horizon lines, but the small things, like the glowing pride when your cross-country calculations are spot on, or when you hit your own wake when practicing a steep turn. My absolute biggest win was after finally nailing my soft-field take-offs and landings, going down to the grass strip at the Fairbault airport with my instructor to get some real-world experience. We had a summer evening with zero wind and an empty airport, and we were both just giddy with how much fun it was, and I was thrilled with the chance to see what all of the simulated practice was preparing me for. I remember my instructor saying before one of our last take-offs, “you know when your instructor is having this much fun, it’s a good lesson!” I was smiling ear-to-ear the rest of the evening, and still smile when I think about it now.
f you are reading this and are considering starting your flight training… do it. Even if it just starts with watching Youtube videos, or taking an online ground school – start. Embrace the learning curve and enjoy every little victory in your flight training. It isn’t easy, but to be able to say you are a pilot is a title not many people get to hold. As someone who intends to stick with Inflight through all of my ratings, I hope to see you start your aviation training soon, and if you ever want to come in for your first tour and see what Inflight has to offer as you consider this big step – I will be there to cheer you on and help get you started!