Edwards Daacke, left, a student in EMU at Lancaster’s aviation program, with instructor Shaun Thacker after his first solo flight earlier this month. Students in the four-year aviation program begin flight school in their first semester and will eventually earn a bachelor’s degree in leadership and organizational management and several flight certifications. (Photo courtesy of Aero-Tech Services, Inc.)

First solo flights with EMU Lancaster’s student-pilots: Meet Edwards Daacke

To read more profiles of student-pilots, visit https://emu.edu/now/news/category/academics/emu-at-lancaster/

Edwards Daacke is a student in EMU Lancaster’s leadership and organizational management (LOM) bachelor’s degree program with a concentration in aviation. He entered the program with 30 hours of prior experience from Aero-Tech Services, the company which facilitates the EMU program.

While he recently flew solo for the first time on Dec. 13, flying is in Daacke’s blood – he comes from an entire family in the aviation industry. He soloed under the tutelage of Shaun Thacker, and his current instructor is Andy Fowkes.

Daacke, who is from Glen Rock, Pa., writes more about his experience in the aviation program below.

Why are you interested in aviation? What led to you pursuing this career path?

I grew up in and around airplanes my entire childhood. My grandfather, great uncle, and aunt all worked for Boeing. My father and mother met through aviation – my dad is a pilot for Southwest, and my mom was a flight attendant. I grew up flying radio control airplanes as well and it has always been a large part of my life. 

Why did you choose EMU for this leg of your education? 

I chose EMU for my education because of the location and the fact that I was already flying with Aero-Tech. For me, it allows me to live at home and save money by commuting. The class schedules also allow me to work and free time is nice.

What was your first solo experience like? Anything like you expected? 

My first solo experience was pretty much what I expected, but it was still crazy being on takeoff role and looking to your right and there not being an instructor – I’ll never forget that feeling. I was also amazed at how well I flew, but afterward realized it was probably because I was so incredibly concentrated on what I was doing.

Did you do anything special to celebrate the flight?

I had Shaun, my instructor, cut the tail of my shirt off like they used to do back in the day when you first solo’d, and then my family and I went to dinner.

What have you most enjoyed about the program so far?

I have most enjoyed meeting and creating relationships with my classmates. It’s nice knowing people your age with similar interests because in high school there was not anyone really interested in flying.

What are your professional goals after graduation?

Definitely to fly for a major airline, because the career opportunities are amazing. Once I retire I would like to go to Alaska or Montana and fly people into remote areas for hunting and fishing.

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