Instrument Rating Here I Come!


I'm so happy to announce that I won the Amelia Earhart Memorial Scholarship with the International Ninety-Nines, the female pilot organization Amelia founded back in 1929. This scholarship will propel me in my piloting career, enabling me to complete my entire Instrument rating. I'm so honored that my scholarship application made it through judging from Arizona to the Southwest Section states. From there, my scholarship was judged through to Nationals and finally, International. To say I was thrilled to hear I'd actually WON would be an understatement. I'm so thankful to the Ninety-Nines. I spent the first hour after I found out jumping around my living room like a crazy woman. (It was more like: cry, laugh, freak out, cry again, get excited, get nervous, laugh it off.)

After getting over the initial shock of winning over $8,500 worth of training, my thoughts turned to the training. I'm in for a LOT of work in the next few months. The Instrument training is referred to as the hardest training one completes as a pilot. It separates you from recreational pilots. You get this one under your belt, you have respect from pilots everywhere. (At least I'd like to think so. Shoot, I just ordered new business cards that say ' MULTI-ENGINE RATED INSTRUMENT PILOT!')

Part of me is definitely intimidated of the idea of getting into my flight school's Piper Warrior, strapping a view limiting device, or Foggles, to my head, and taking off into the sky under instruments only. I'm scared I'll be the girl who pukes in the hot Arizona summer thermals. I'm scared I won't understand what my flight instructor will be barking at me during that hour flight: “Turn this heading! Stay level! What are you doing?! You trying to kill us?!” Mostly, I'm scared that at some point I'll be ready to throw in the towel and give up.

But will I? NEVER. If I don't understand something, if I can't figure out what I'm doing wrong, I will ask. I will ask every resource available to me before becoming frustrated with my abilities as a pilot. I think this is the hardest part of career training. Every experienced pilot I've spoken to has had that thought cross their mind at least once in their training: “Am I really cut out for this?” The hard part is taking yourself out of the situation for a moment to see that it's a new concept, and it will be challenging. It isn't something wrong with you as a pilot, it's the deep learning of a new, foreign way to fly. But who said flying airplanes for the first 500 hours was easy?

I will be sure to keep you the blog updated. My New Year's resolution (it is still early in the year - right?) is to blog more often. My first lessons are already in the schedule books for July. Speaking of books, back to my college textbook work. (This girl signed herself up for 2 classes just in case she didn't win the scholarship!) Lots of plates are spinning in the air, but I can't wait to start my training and get that additional sign off in my logbook!! Any tips from fellow pilots? 


Elyse June 6, 2012 at 09:31 am

Congratulations!!! That's wonderful news, what an accomplishment. As for me, I'm taking my very first flying lesson in just a few hours. You're definitely an inspiration. Rock on!


Brad June 7, 2012 at 12:35 am

Congrats Gabrielle. That's awesome!

Matt June 7, 2012 at 09:59 am

Awesome, well done!