BANGOR – Imagine you’re in college. You get out of class and hop into an airplane that’ll take you virtually wherever you want to go.
For most of us, that sounds like a nice daydream. For local students, it’s reality, thanks to a unique club that’s helping them reach new heights.
Every time Cody Walker is in the cockpit, he’s on cloud nine.
“When I pack my bags to go to work, it’s not work for me,” Walker said. “I get to live my dream every single day.”
Walker is a commercial pilot for a New England-Based aircraft company, PlaneSense.
He’s also a University of Maine student, set to graduate in May.
Walker credits a large chunk of his success to the University Flying Club, a group that allows students at all UMaine campuses to work towards their pilot’s licenses while earning their degrees.
“This club made it possible for me to get a professional pilot job before I even got my bachelor’s degree,” Walker said.
In this club, there are no flight simulators.
Instead, members go through ground training and are then given access to two Cessna planes at nearly half the cost of most other charter services.
“We like to keep our rates really low, so that anybody and everybody can come join,” said club president David Stansfield. “We’re one of the cheapest clubs in the United States.”
Despite the cheap rate, Stansfield says they don’t compromise safety.
The planes are based at Bangor International Airport and are ready to fly at any time.
“The best part about it is I get to go fly planes, it’s fun,” said Nicholas Brady, a member of the club. “It’s cool, at the same time, I have my own key to the plane and everything.”
“It’s really amazing that as college students, we’re able to jump in an airplane on a weekend and go somewhere,” said Riley Bartash, vice president of the University Flying Club.
Most club members want to fly professionally. Others want to cross becoming a pilot off their bucket list.
Either way, Walker says this club is the perfect way to let your dreams take flight.
“For someone that has always maybe had that feeling, ‘maybe I wanna fly airplanes one day, I think that would be kinda cool to try out,’ jump out of your comfort zone and do it, because it might be something you get really excited about,” Walker said.
If you’re not a UMaine student, no problem. The club is open to people of all ages who are interested in spreading their wings.
For more information, check out the club’s website.