EMU Lancaster aviation student Colin Tomlinson earns Private Pilot rating

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

Colin Tomlinson, of York, Pa., grew up surrounded by a family of pilots and aircraft mechanics. At airshows with his dad, he began to picture himself in the cockpit of the jets he saw soaring overhead. What would it be like to fly so high? he wondered.

Now he’s one step closer to that goal. As a student in EMU Lancaster’s leadership and organizational management (LOM) bachelor’s degree program with a concentration in aviation, he has completed his first solo and earned his private pilot’s license. By the completion of the four-year program, he will have a bachelor’s degree and several more flight certifications.

“I find everything about aviation interesting,” Tomlinson says. “The history, the technology, and the ability to fly thousands of feet above the earth amazes me.” 

Tomlinson is also motivated by people who doubted his drive to fly when he shared his dream with them. “A lot of people that I have talked to throughout my life have told me that I could never be a pilot. ‘It’s too hard,’ they would say. Well, here I am.”

Read more about his experiences in the program below:

What was your first solo experience like?

My first solo experience was like being let off of a leash. I wasn’t nervous at all, but rather excited. I was flying with an instructor before, but flying alone felt great. I had a sense of independence as well as accomplishment. 

What was it like to pass your private pilot check ride?

Passing my private pilot checkride was to me one of my proudest moments. I have accomplished something that I was dreaming of accomplishing since a very young age. I was nervous going into the checkride, because this had meant more to me than just obtaining a private pilot’s license. Passing was like a weight had been lifted off of my shoulders. After so much preparation and study, passing felt even more rewarding.

Did you do anything special to celebrate after your successful check ride?

I celebrated with dinner and dessert with my family.

 Why did you choose EMU’s aviation program? 

I had been accepted to a few other flight programs. EMU had stood out to me for a couple of reasons. One of which was the highly experienced group of staff and instructors. The partnership with EMU and Aerotech helps me both obtain ratings and eventually a college degree. Another was the quality of education. I also enjoy a smaller classroom setting.

What have you most enjoyed about the program so far?

Honestly meeting new people and building new friendships. My cohort and I all work together as a team as well as help and encourage each other.