Elijah Elkins following his first solo flight in November. 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 Elijah Elkins

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

Elijah Elkins of Paradise, Pa. is a student in EMU Lancaster’s leadership and organizational management (LOM) bachelor’s degree program with a concentration in aviation. He recently flew solo for the first time on Nov. 14 under the supervision of instructor Chris Dorsey.

Elkins said that many people have the misconception that you have to be a “genius or mathematician to enjoy flying.” And while the trade certainly has its challenges, it’s within reach for many young adults looking to the skies for a career. Elkins’ interest in aviation was piqued when he saw bloggers and Youtubers talking about flying.

“There is nothing as exciting as getting to fly multiple times a week to far and unique places,” Elkins said. “Aviation is not just for old guys with mustaches; it’s cool and hip to be a pilot. You get paid to travel the world – what could be better?”

Elkins writes more about his experience in the aviation program below.

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

Driving a car for the first time alone was so different than flying a plane for the first time solo.  Even though I was “free,” there were still many things I had to do that occupied my attention. You cannot just kick on some music and relax, you have to listen for instructions from ATC (air traffic control), stay at a correct elevation, watch your speed, and land the plane. 

Even though I was busy, I loved what I was doing and would not want to be anywhere else in the world. Flying is so much more fun than driving, just in a different way!

Did you do anything special to celebrate the flight?

I went to lunch with my friend Dylan who is also in the flight program. We go to lunch every Thursday after our flights, but this was more special than any other lunch. As we ate, we tried to comprehend the fact that we went from never flying planes to flying solo in two short months!

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

Being a smaller school, I am not just “another student pilot.” I know my peers and the instructors very well after just one semester. 

I love the schedule of EMU classes. My classes are all on Tuesdays, and I fly three times a week, meaning that I can still work a full-time job to help pay for my expenses. I do not have a typical “miserable college student schedule,” I sleep nine hours a night and love going to my classes. 

What have you most enjoyed about the program so far?

I have loved getting to be a part of such a unique community; hundreds of thousands of people are united in the pursuit to fly. There is not much more freeing than flight. 

What are your professional goals after graduation?

I would love to become a charter pilot or even work for an airline. It is a goal of mine to move to a unique place in the country, and even open up my own flight business someday. I want people to experience the world of aviation, however I can share my new passion. Everyone deserves such a gift, one that is relatively young and full of opportunity and adventure.

Discussion on “First solo flights with EMU Lancaster’s student-pilots: Meet Elijah Elkins

  1. So happy you have found this interesting degree program, Elijah! EMU is a great place to study. Flying certainly does sound exciting! God bless you.

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