To read more profiles of student-pilots, visit https://emu.edu/now/news/category/academics/emu-at-lancaster/.
Conner Rhoades, of Wrightsville, Pennsylvania, envisioned an aviation career with infinite opportunities and exceptional experiences.
Rhoades was gifted a Discovery flight as a Christmas present one year; the rest is history.
Rhoades is a student in EMU Lancaster’s leadership and organizational management (LOM) program with a concentration in aviation. By the completion of the four-year program, graduates earn a bachelor’s degree and the FAA credentials they need to begin a professional pilot career.
Rhoades shares more about his experiences in the program below:
What interests you about aviation? What led to you pursuing this career path?
Aviation is a fascinating field that amazes me with its boundless possibilities. The experiences and sights it offers are endless and continually evolving. My journey in aviation began uniquely. I received a Discovery Flight as a Christmas present and decided to use it early the following year. Little did I know that I would fall in love with flying and choose to pursue it as a profession. Aviation presents an infinite range of opportunities and exceptional experiences.
Tell us about your friendships you’ve made with your classmates?
My friendships with my classmates are much more than just regular friendships. These relationships will be lifelong no matter where life takes us. One thing I’ve learned about this program and the friendships is once you fly with someone, you form a bond unique to each flight you take with that other person, and that experience in and of itself is unbeatable.
What was it like to pass your Private Pilot Checkride?
Passing my Private Pilot Checkride was one of the best feelings in the world. There is so much time and dedication put into studying on the ground and in the air that once you pass it and have the freedom to fly around, the adventure and experiences are endless. It’s simply amazing.
We heard that the Instrument Rating is the most challenging, what makes that so challenging?
In my opinion, an instrument flight can be challenging because it is much different than flying under visual flight rules. However, once learned and practiced regularly, it becomes muscle memory.
Why did you choose EMU?
I chose EMU because it was local and also a small school. I wanted to be part of a small group of people where I could form close, lifelong friendships. The best part about EMU is the experiences and memories you’ll create with your cohort.
What have you most enjoyed about the program so far?
I have enjoyed flying and building relationships with my classmates. The cohort size is small, making it easier for us to study, fly, and develop closer connections with each other. It’s incredible how quickly we became close friends and spent time together outside of class and flight lessons. The best part of this program is the guaranteed flight time and the opportunity to establish meaningful relationships and friendships right from day one.
What are your professional goals after graduation?
I am still determining which career path to pursue within the aviation industry, but it will likely involve airplanes. The field of aviation is vast and limitless. Besides the airlines, numerous opportunities are available, and it is essential to be open-minded and explore the industry to discover what it has to offer.