There are a few different components to flyGIRL. There’s the company that produces retail products, which funds scholarships. There’s The Fly Foundation, which is the non-profit portion that distributes the scholarship(s). And then, there’s me, flyGIRL Natalie Kelley.
There are ideas out the wazoo for all things flyGIRL. My hope is that putting pen to paper (or should I say fingers to keyboard?) will help me sort out my main goals. Suggestions are always welcome as well! Some of the best ideas come from unexpected places.
flyGIRL, The Organization
Sporty’s Pilot Shop and Sporty’s Wright Bros. Collection is currently selling flyGIRL gear. The company has been very helpful in promoting the products and in supporting the flyGIRL mission. Sporty’s Academy has also done a great job supporting me as I’ve progressed through training there during the past two years! My hope is that we will sell enough products to continue to fund the scholarship that aims to support women in their own aviation dreams through financial assistance and mentoring.
There was a short time that my website, www.flygirlllc.com, offered some additional products that are currently unavailable through Sporty’s. My hope is to find another quality, online supplier that will enable me to offer these other products. For those of you that are fans of the flyGIRL red leather jacket, I’m still undecided about whether or not that item should be made available for purchase. Stay tuned….Sorry!!!
The Fly Foundation, Non-Profit
Most people don’t even know that there’s a separate portion called The Fly Foundation. This is the actual, legal “non-profit” portion where the collection is located and where funds can be donated to finance the scholarship(s). Last year, $5,000 was awarded to Megan Gerding. Since receiving the endowment, Megan has gone on since to earn her instrument rating, her commercial rating and her CFI. All within a year! She has such determination and dedication! A perfect flyGIRL choice. 🙂
This spring the scholarship is being offered nationwide, versus just the Cincinnati area, through the organization, Women in Aviation. This portion is for $2,500. There have been 228 applications submitted thus far! Whew-it’s going to be a tough decision. It is very exciting as well! Because of the number of submissions, a board has been formed to help make the final selection.
flyGIRL Natalie Kelley
The final piece of the flyGIRL puzzle is: ME! This portion is filled with more ambiguity. Some of my goals this year are to obtain my complex and high-performance single-engine endorsements, as well as a tail-wheel endorsement. Currently, there are two schools in Florida where I’m considering attending in order to earn my multi-engine rating by the end of January. I’m excited about learning all about a new airplane and flying something so different! Learning some basic aerobatics this year would be icing on the cake. After that, it’s all about accruing those flight hours.
My mother has been helping me build a résumé over the weekend. It’s been…a while…since putting together a résumé. There are a few aviation/pilot job websites where the final product will be uploaded and hopefully, I’ll find an opportunity with an employer that can allow me to earn more experience in the cockpit (and get to know a few more pilots).
In the midst of all of the above, volunteering more, while using my aviation knowledge and skills would be fulfilling as well. Finding more time to fly for the EAA Young Eagles program would be delightful. My involvement with the Commemorative Air Force will grow, as I’m scheduled to train for the traveling Red Tail Squadron Tuskegee Airmen interactive exhibit. This is an impressive educational encounter that is available at many airports throughout the air show season. My name has recently been added as a volunteer pilot for Pilots N Paws, a non-profit organization that transports animals to new or temporary homes. There are a number of other volunteer flight service organizations worthy of assistance but time is limited for this gal.
What Will Really Happen?
The key point that needs to be made here is that I really don’t know where my path will end up or where I’ll be at the end of 2019 in my aviation endeavors, but there are goals (as seen above). With certainty, I’ll be further along than I am currently. It’s important to have objectives, but flexibility is also vital. Take the time to appreciate how far you’ve come, even if you still have things you want to achieve. Looking back, I’ve accomplished a lot. Two years ago, being a pilot seemed like a daunting, unending journey. Step-by-step, here I am! It’s been such an incredible, revealing journey, educationally and personally. There have been many unanticipated twists and turns that have taught me much and opened my eyes to more opportunities.
I’m a different person. I’m more confidant, hopeful, focused and filled with more optimism than ever. Having goals and dreams leads you down unexpected paths. Be open to the journey. It’s a guarantee: you will grow in unforeseen ways. Use your experience to teach and encourage others to “stay the course” so that they can grow as well. We don’t know what’s around the bend, which can be scary, but there’s always something to learn and grow from. I’m alive in the greatest country ever and the possibilities are endless, even if they are sometimes unknown. In the end, it’s all good.