Bronco Spotlight: Melanie Hight
Certificated Flight Instructor at OpenAir Flight Training
I independently manage over a dozen students/clients seeking aircraft checkouts, private pilot and commercial licenses, flight reviews, and beyond. My job is to maintain consistent contact and availability to students in order to ensure their success. I am constantly learning and studying new concepts to improve as an instructor, while upholding the standards and values of Cirrus Aircraft, of which OpenAir is a Platinum Certified Training Center (CTC).
What is the most rewarding and the most challenging part of your job?
The most rewarding aspect of my job has a lot to do with the individuals I have had the opportunity to work with. The students I teach are from all different walks of life- and have amazing stories to tell, who have experienced incredible things. I often feel as though I'm learning as much from my students as they are from me. It has also granted me some incredibly unique opportunities to travel the country- whether it be a month flying among the mountains in Wyoming, a week in Texas, or a night in New York City. A job as amazing as this is not without its unique challenges- I am constantly learning new things and being reminded every day that no matter how much experience I feel I have flying a specific plane, or in the complex airspace of Washington DC- there's always something more to learn.
If you had a campus job or internship, how did they impact your career development?
I applied for just about every internship that became available- specifically in corporate aviation departments. My experiences with those internships by far had the most impact on the way I saw the rest of my career unfolding. In addition to three different internships, I worked at the College of Aviation as a student dispatcher, and also at the Kalamazoo airport as a ramp agent for United. All of these experiences are what truly made my experience at WMU valuable. I believe that to get out there and see what the 'real world' has to offer firsthand is the best way to launch a successful career.
What advice do you have for others pursuing a career similar to yours?
People are everything! Creating personal relationships with people in your field is incredibly important. Networking is absolutely key.