Congratulations to our Helicopter Training Student of the Month for November, Parker Ward! Get to know Parker and hear about his journey through helicopter training here at Mauna Loa.
Where are you from?
What point in your life did you know you wanted to fly helicopters?
While I was in the Army. We road in UH-60s in training, and had several air assault missions in Iraq. I was always fascinated by what the pilots were doing
What is your favorite helicopter to fly?
I’d say as of now, the R22. Seeing as how its the only helicopter I’ve ever flown.
What obstacles have you had to overcome to get where you are today?
The financial obstacle is without a doubt the biggest hurdle to get over. The time, effort, and mental disciple it takes to restrain the desire to quite and go home when im deployed as a Defense Contractor keeps me constantly thinking; “im doing this for flight school and ultimately, my family”. Id say the second biggest issue is self doubt. While im actually flying and at school. The entire concept of the flight school program and the long road ahead until my first job as a commercial pilot is daunting at times. But, if it were easy anybody could do it. And I sure aint just anybody.
Where do you hope your training will take you?
My goal is to become a commercial pilot. Obviously, Ill take the first job that comes to me when I finish my training, but in the long run I would like to get into aerial lift/sling load operations. My father was in construction my whole life and I know that there are several other industries that utilize aerial lift companies for various aspects of operation. Also, it sounds like a satisfying challenge. One to be proud of.
What advice would you give to people just starting out in their training?
If money is no issue for you and you are just doing this because you are bored or something, I have no advise for you. If you have to work your ass off just to be there, than for the love of god don’t give up. All of the things you think you might be missing out on because of the sacrifices of time, effort, and funds will be there when you are ready. Obviously, life has pointed you in this direction for a reason and when you complete the program and open the doors to doing this for a living, everything will pale in comparison.
What has been your favorite experience while flying with MLH?
I would say, just flying. Actually controlling the aircraft and doing it with confidence.
I picked MLH because I live just up the road. Ive lived on the BI for about 6 years now and once I finally gained the confidence to pursue this, MLH was the only option for me. I definitely wasn’t going to move back to the mainland to start. I wanted to make sure this was something I could actually do. Now I have proved I can. To myself at least.
What’s your favorite thing about flying in Hawaii/at MLH?
I love the view from 2000’+ I see a place I’ve been to before and I think to myself “I’ve been there.” or “So that’s what that place looks like from up here”. Google earth can only do so much.
Are you looking to kickstart your aviation career? You could be our next Student of the Month!