Friday photo: special flight with dad


The moment: Flying with my Dad

The pilot: Britta Schroeder (right)

The place: Centennial Airport (KAPA), Denver, CO to Meadow Lake Airport (KFLY), Colorado Springs, CO.

The aircraft: C172S

The memory: My father always wanted to be a pilot for the Air Force or commercial airlines, but was never able to make his dreams come true, settling for a computer programming position with a major airline. He often encouraged me to pursue flying while I was a young adult, but it wasn’t until moving to Alaska that I realized aviation could open up a world of opportunities besides a career in the military or as an ATP.

After my father was diagnosed with terminal cancer, I made it my goal to earn my private pilot’s license and take him as my first passenger for our last adventure together. The day after my successful checkride, I flew him down to see family near Colorado Springs. It was one of the last weeks he could leave the house, and he passed away a few months later.
But that one flight will always be my most exhilarating and rewarding aviation moment; to hear the return of excitement and life in his voice one last time was truly the greatest gift I could ever receive from aviation. Thanks for helping make it happen.

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It was his first airplane trip at age seven that made Eric decide to become a pilot. "While boarding the airplane, a flight attendant noticed my interest in the flight deck and urged me to go talk to the pilot. I give a lot of credit to that pilot for my career choice." He earned a bachelor’s degree in finance and went on to an airline career. Eric now heads Sporty’s flight school and directs the University of Cincinnati’s Professional Pilot Training Program. In addition, Eric serves as a Captain in Sporty’s corporate flight department.