Taken from the Torch, Spring 2011
In order for a pilot to take off, the conditions have to be favorable. Junior Kaitlyn Linde, Apple Valley, Minn., found the perfect conditions for the takeoff of her collegiate career when she discovered the University of Minnesota had a campus that combined both natural resources and aviation in a degree program.
“I was always bringing every little animal into the house,” Linde says. “As I grew up, I knew I wanted to study natural resources. As a high school student at the School of Environmental Studies in Apple Valley, I decided I wanted to attend one of the campuses of the University of Minnesota.”
As a natural resources aviation major at the University of Minnesota, Crookston, Linde discovered the perfect academic degree combination. “When my search for a college led to the Crookston campus, I knew it was meant to be,” she explains.
A campus visit confirmed her decision, and she moved into Skyberg Hall the fall after she graduated from high school. “I met so many friends during orientation,” Linde says. “Although I now live off campus, I would recommend students live on campus their first year, it gets you involved and it helps you meet people.”
As a young woman, Linde finds herself in a minority in the aviation program, but that fact matters little to her. She is as passionate about flying as she is about the environment. “I love the sense of getting up in the air and spending time enjoying the beauty as well as the opportunity to learn,” Linde explains. “Aviation is a field where learning never stops. There is always more to learn about flight and about aircraft.”
Giving students the experience they need compelled Mike Vivion, chief pilot on the Crookston campus, to make an emergency maneuvers training (EMT) course available to his students. “More and more positions require this kind of training,” Vivion says. “We offer students the best training available thanks to my good fortune in knowing Rich Stowell who allows us to use his program with our students.” Stowell, who specializes in spin, emergency maneuver, aerobatic, and tailwheel training, is highly regarded in the field of aviation for his EMT® Program as well as his trademark PARE spin recovery checklist.
For Linde and her classmates, the EMT course meant learning to fly under all kinds of stress. “We spent a good share of the course learning to fly upside down,” Linde recalls. “A pilot who has been trained with EMT is prepared to fly the plane upside down in order to take the steps necessary to right the aircraft. We were also put into spins and learned how to recover.” This experience is possible through a partnership the U of M, Crookston has with the University of North Dakota, Grand Forks, and an instructor from UND’s aerobatics team gives students the kind of in-flight training they need to handle the unexpected.
While Linde loves flying, she also loves the natural resource side of her degree. “I have had some great instructors, and they have so much experience in the field,” she states. “I would like to work for an agency when I graduate, and the experience these instructors bring to the classroom is very beneficial to us as students.” During her internship in summer 2010, Linde worked for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) scuba diving as part of research on the state’s native freshwater mussels. “It was a great experience for me, and I am considering a second internship with them this summer,” she relates. “I would like to get as much experience as I can in the field so I am keeping my options open, but working for the DNR was amazing.”
Linde says her future career must include aviation, narrowing her choices to a job that is very specialized. If she can’t find what she is looking for, she is considering active duty in the Air Force to broaden her experience. Right now, she is focused on her education and will see what is on the horizon as she nears graduation in 2011. Linde’s aspirations appear to be quite lofty, but this young aviator is certain to be ready for takeoff when the timecomes.