Dane Ingram following his private pilot checkride in February 2022. 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.)

EMU Lancaster aviation student Dane Ingram earns Private Pilot rating

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

Dane Ingram, of Lancaster, Pa., says that passing his private pilot checkride is now the biggest accomplishment of his life. 

Ingram is a student in EMU Lancaster’s leadership and organizational management (LOM) bachelor’s degree program with a concentration in aviation. By the completion of the four-year program, graduates have a four-year degree and several flight certifications.

Getting his pilot’s license was a dream of Ingram’s since he was a sophomore in high school, when he developed an appreciation for military aircraft. He writes more about his experience in the aviation program below.

What interests you about aviation? What led to you pursuing this career path?

Honestly, the military side of aviation is what interests me most. I originally got into aviation from a video game called Battlefield; I primarily would fly fighter jets in the game and it really sparked my interest to start doing research on military aircraft. Over time, I fell in love with everything aviation, but my primary interest is military, simply from how awesome and technologically advanced the aircrafts they fly are. 

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

My first solo flight was, up to that point, my biggest accomplishment. I had wanted to get my pilot’s license for four years, since I was a sophomore in high school. It was a dream come true when I got to that stage of my training. 

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

I did not do anything special. I was just so relieved and was ready to start the next phase of my training, which is getting my instrument rating. Many of my friends and family congratulated me after hearing news of my accomplishment and honestly the whole process just made me so happy. 

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

I originally wanted to enlist in the USAF or go through ROTC to go straight into the military and become a military aviator, but based on my research and connections, I learned it is not guaranteed to get a pilot slot. Because of this, I decided the best route for me was to go to what seemed to be the perfect program for me, a leadership/aviation focused program that’s taught primarily by pilots. 

What have you most enjoyed about the program so far?

I enjoy everything about this program: Most of the classes are aviation-focused and a part of our schooling is literally just going through flight school. My favorite part of this program, though, is the connection my cohort has made. There are 11 people in my cohort and we have all made strong relationships that will surely last for life as we all pursue our aviation goals.

What are your professional goals after graduation?

After graduation, I plan to go into Officer Training School for the United States Air Force to hopefully get a pilot slot and to choose to fly my favorite plane, the F-35B. After my time in the service, I would like to fly for some airline and eventually spend my final years of my aviation career aerial firefighting. I have a lot of time to figure out the exact path I will be taking after my military service, but my main goal is to be a military pilot.