Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Women pilots adding 'girl power' to Aerosim Flight Academy

Fresh off their participation in the Air Race Classic, Lauren Thompson (left) and Kelsey Brown (far right) let us into their world at Aerosim Flight Academy in Sanford.
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SANFORD -- 

"When I started flying, I started hating to drive!"

And with that, we got a pretty good idea that pilot Lauren Thompson is hooked on aviation. For the third year, she competed in the Air Race Classic - a 10-state, 4-day race considered the pinnacle of women's air racing. Her co-pilot is Kelsey Brown, who made her race debut.

The women didn't place as well as they wanted to, but they still get to look forward to a congratulations reception for the ground team and sponsors in mid-July.

The duo met in ground school, where they both became flight instructors.

Before that, Brown majored in French Literature, of all things. But she always knew she didn't want a 9-to-5.

"I kept saying that," she said, "and my folks kept saying, 'Well, you know what has all of those options?' And I kept saying, 'No no, no no,'" thinking she'd probably never fly as a career.

But all it took was one, 1-hour introductory flight. Her passion and obsession built up even more after completing her first solo flight.

"I remember everything being quiet and then all of a sudden, I hear this kind of singing," she recalled. "And then I realized I was the one singing. And it was this realization of, Oh, you are actually doing this right now. And I just thought that was the coolest thing ever."

The women led us through a pre-flight safety check during a recent visit to Aerosim Flight Academy, the only flight school originally owned and operated by airlines Comair Airlines and Delta Air Lines. In its 26 years of operation, the academy has issued more than 20,000 licenses and certificates.

"It's not a car," Brown said, showing me how to check for the purity of the fuel by removing a sample from inside the wing. "If you have a problem, you can't pull over on the side of the road and get assistance."

"It's just awesome, just to be flying," Thompson added. "You look down and just realize, Wow. The views you have, the sunsets, the sunrises are incredible. Just getting to see that and a different perspective, I couldn't ask for a better job."

Meanwhile, up next for the public is a "Be a Pilot" open house and career expo. That's happening at Aerosim Flight Academy in October. For information, contact Aerosim at (407) 330-7020.

Aerosim Flight Academy:  https://www.afa.edu

Source:  http://www.mynews13.com

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