Aviation students remain optimistic in light of pandemic

(Illustration by Riley Andersen)

Amid uncertainty, emotional turmoil and financial crisis the aviation students at Utah Valley University continue to remain hopeful for the future.   

UVU senior Dakodta Clements describes how he has managed to maintain a positive outlook on the situation. 

“I have found it helpful to get creative and look for jobs in [different] ways,” said Clements. “I have been taking this opportunity to get additional ratings and boost my resume. It’s a dark time but there is still light if you know where to look.”

Similar to the tremendous financial losses that major and regional airlines have experienced, UVU is not exempt from the repercussions of the COVID-19 virus. Delta Air Lines CEO Ed Bastian, for example, reported a 95 percent decrease in passenger capacity since April in a recent CNBC report. 

UVU flight students have experienced significant training delays, new course schedules, restrictive flight procedures and a decrease in financial resources. UVU senior Kaylie Mason expressed what has helped her cope with the effects of COVID-19. 

“Maintaining positivity throughout the pandemic has been challenging,” she said. “I think it’s great to focus on the positive that COVID-19 has brought. Something that has helped me is to live in a bit of uncertainty.”  

Despite the delays in her training, Kaylie stays motivated to complete her education. 

“I keep moving forward because I love aviation, and I am certain I want to pursue it as a career,” she said.

Even students funded by the VA and GI Bill of Rights have experienced delays during this challenging time. 

Kyle Kranz, a retired Army airborne infantryman and UVU aviation student, said his lifelong dream of becoming a pilot helps him move forward. Kranz, like many UVU students, has experienced delays in his training and school funding. 

“What fuels my motivation for aviation is the lifelong desire to be a professional pilot,” he said. 

Many of the financial and emotional hardships faced during the pandemic could cause many students and future pilots to doubt their futures. However, students at UVU are committed to finishing their education. 

Flight training costs can range from $60,000 to $100,000 or more. Many students invest enormous amounts of time, energy and money to become professional airline pilots. Their inner focus, determination and sheer grit is reflected in their resiliency to keep moving forward. 

“I have invested too much to stop now,” said David Kamerath, a UVU senior. “I [must] remain positive believing aviation will bounce back.” 

COVID-19 may have won for a season. It has decreased airline profits, forced businesses to close and separated families. It may have slowed the progress of UVU students but it cannot break their spirits. UVU students are proving that they too can bounce back.

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