Shawn Holmes

Instructor in the Sky.Developer on the Side.

The Office Job

I graduated from Madison Area Technical College with an associates in IT - Web Software. I didn't get a position in my field after college and took a year assembling house trusses. It was there that I'd be connected with my first developer position. I was at this position for about a year before Covid had driven the company to let me go. I enjoyed my job as a developer but there was something about it that just wasn't right. I felt bored going to work in the same office, in the same building, on the same drive, looking at the same things out my office window.

From Simulator to See Ya Later

After being let go during the start of Covid, I splurged a bit and bought the new Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020. This was not my first run in with planes as I have always been fascinated by them and had a brief venture into remote controlled planes as well. I spent the next while learning how to play the sim and control the many aircraft it features. After hearing about me constantly talk about new things I learned my girlfriend, now wife, gifted me my discovery flight for my birthday. After that day, I knew this was something I HAD to do. I talked with an instructor and got signed up for lessons. Shortly after I had also found another position as a developer which was graceful enough to give me a flexible schedule to keep flying.

PPL and Flight Club

8 Short months later, and a few delays, I finally did it: I got my Private Pilot License! Of course to celebrate my new privileges, I took my friends and family up to see what all the hype was about. Not too long after, I even joined a flight club to fly their Cessna 172. Seeing the excitement and having mentioned the possibility of taking my PPL farther, my instructor advised that if I was really serious about flying that I consider attending a larger flight training school to obtain my certificates and make flying a career.

Training in Texas

Heeding my instructors advice, I did my research and found a school in Texas to complete the rest of my training. I drove down with just the essentials in November 2021 to be truly on my own for the first time. Having already completed my Private License, I started with my Instrument Rating when I arrived and continued the hard work through the Commercial, CFI, Commercial Multi-Engine and Multi-Engine Instructor certificates. At each step was a new challenge and more knowledge to retain and be able to present in the seemingly infinite checkrides. During my training I met many people, but was blessed to have a support team of two other friends. We would study together and ensure we all were motivated to keep pushing through any obstacle to come. Because of this we were well renowned at our school and would often be asked for help with numerous tasks.

Becoming a CFI

It was during our CFI training that we quickly realized that we had a very surface level understanding of the topics covered from Private through Commercial. From endorsements to in depth systems and aerodynamics, our knowledge grew exponentially and was a pure example of the phrase: "A pilot is always learning." Not long after passing my MEI checkride I was hired on by my school as a brand new Flight Instructor. It was a daunting change to go from the student to the teacher and I have already learned so much in my first 5 months. There are long hard days keeping up with the different requirements of each student, but the days of watching them succeed and progress make it all worth it.

The Rest is History

My love of aviation is just started and is growing day by day, but my love of development is not going unused. I have applied my skills to create a few tools to help those in aviation. I hope my perspective of going through training gives me the insight to help others who may be struggling with similar things.

© 2023 Shawn Holmes