Every time that I talk to my friends or meet new people, they always seem to ask me this question, why did you decide to attend the University of Oklahoma? Why not join either the Navy or Air Force? I always chuckle when I get asked this question because most of my friends think that I chose the University of Oklahoma because I’m a die-hard Sooner fan (Boomer Sooner!), and while I have great respect for our armed forces and those that serve our great country, I knew deep down that the University of Oklahoma was the right school for me. So, for this week’s post I’m going to talk about why I chose to study aviation & professional piloting at OU, as well as promoting this great university and for those of you looking at possible college choices to begin your training into the aviation world.
Like I said before, a lot of people wonder why I didn’t go into the armed forces like the Air Force or Navy, and while I respect for both branches of military, I personally didn’t feel a calling to go the military route; it just wasn’t for me. In addition, when you join these two branches you must be in commitment with them for certain amount of years. Finally, and most probably the biggest thing for me is that I wanted to get the full college experience and just learn to become a commercial airline pilot, I really wasn’t interested in flying military aircraft’s so I immediately crossed off the military route when it came to choosing which route I wanted to take to become a commercial airline pilot.
So, one great thing about living here in Oklahoma is that you have a lot of outstanding universities that offer various forms of aviation degrees. Some of these universities include The University of Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Kansas State at Salina, and Southeastern Oklahoma State. While I visited these schools, in the end I decided to attend the University of Oklahoma since it stood compared to other universities.
The first thing stood out to me about OU is that the university allowed me to be both a student and a pilot in training. The biggest problem that I noticed with other universities is that all you focused on was aviation; if you weren’t flying, you were studying aviation in some way. Don’t get me wrong I love aviation (that’s why of course I’m studying it), but I’m sure you all have had that feeling of being burnt out with flying or studying. The great thing about OU is that you can balance flying while getting the full college experience like meeting new people, attending sporting events, and enjoying the great city of Norman, Oklahoma.
The next major factor that made choose OU, was the airport facility and how well organized it was. Max Westheimer Airport (KOUN) is the airport located in Norman, Oklahoma and is just minutes from campus, but the University does own the airport which in mind is great because it’s a short commute from campus to the airport, and the university can do what they want with airport where at universities the city owns the airport which can cause major problems. The department of aviation at OU also includes a fleet of Piper Cherokee Warriors, which are low wing aircraft’s. To me this is a huge advantage especially if you are training to become a commercial airline pilot since you will be flying mostly low winged aircraft, rather than training in Cessna’s like at other universities. Finally, when it comes to your academic career in college, our advisers, instructors, and especially our department director, Mr. Ken Carson are our biggest supporters. Over the past year-and-half here at OU, I’ve gotten to know these people and they support me no matter what, so it’s great knowing that you have people that care about your training and your future.
Finally, and probably the most important factor when it came to my decision of choosing to attend OU, were the amounts of opportunities I had for both my college and flying career. Now I know when you visit colleges every single of them talk about how they offer better opportunities then other place, but I can certainly tell you OU has opportunities that no other colleges have. When it comes to earning your ratings here at OU you can earn almost every rating (the only one you can’t get is your Air Transportation ATP)). This was a major factor in my decision process because at other programs they would only offer up to your commercial rating, which again if your trying to become a corporate or commercial airline pilot you need more ratings. Next is the amount of opportunities you must get involved in aviation related activities here at OU. Personally, I’m currently a member of the Sooner Aviation Club where various students in the department come together and do various activities or listen to guess speakers who work in various parts of the aviation world, and this past semester I competed with the Sooner Flight Team in the region 6 NIFA competition which was an amazing experience, especially with it being my first year on the team. Another great opportunity that we have here at OU, is since we are close to both Oklahoma City and Dallas, we tend to visit both the Federal Aviation Association, or go and visit either the American or Southwest training centers and getting to meet airline recruiters, get personalized tours, and even getting to fly in one of their simulators! (trust me no other colleges can say that they can visit both the FAA and Airline training centers in the same year). Finally, with the airline companies needing pilots ready to fly within the upcoming years, many airline companies have extended pipeline programs, and internships through the University of Oklahoma, since they know that the aviation department is preparing us to be the next generation of pilots, so believe me if feels great knowing that airline companies are interested in me and my fellow peers, as well as basically offering a job once we graduate and reach all the needed requirements.
Like I said before, if you are considering a degree in any field of aviation, I highly recommend you consider the University of Oklahoma since we have such a great aviation program, but I also know that there are other outstanding universities out there that would love to have you so which ever one makes you feel right at home or is right for you.
Well guys that’s it for this week’s blog, Also, make sure to check out https://blog.globalair.com/ for other great blogs and featured stories on other universities across the country. As always guys remember that “adventure is out there!”