Date of Defense


Date of Graduation


First Advisor

Dominic Nicolai

Second Advisor

Lori Brown

Third Advisor

Irma Lopez


This thesis aims to guide incoming students on how to make the most of their time in collegiate aviation and how to increase their chances of success. The primary source of information was my own experience as a flight student at Western Michigan University from 2019 to 2022. Entering aviation as a pilot can be extremely difficult given the high barriers to entry; the most common being the money, know-how, and number of flight hours required to work as a professional airline pilot. It is important to make the right choices given the multitude of decisions professional pilots in training will face, and this thesis aims to provide a framework for how to navigate those choices. It serves as a map of the next four years: from the start of college until the end, how to deal with a crisis or failure, and how to move on from those events. It is important as a flight student to pick the right school, look ahead into the future, plan realistically given the weather, get involved in registered student organizations, and hold leadership positions in some way or another.

Access Setting

Honors Thesis-Open Access

Included in

Aviation Commons