Haylee Nelson – Montana Nomination & Photography by Capture 1 Photography Issue 57 of Inspiring Teens Magazine
Nomination: Haylee Nelson is an exceptional young lady with a very well thought out (and I might add very attainable) plan to become a commercial airline pilot. I have personally had the privilege of flying with her on the day we did her senior session. Take off, landing and handling strong winds that day, this young woman has defiantly got what it takes!!! Haylee is a joy to hang out with, quick witted, easy to talk to, amazing smile, more energy the energizer bunny and she has the cutest freckles you've ever seen!!
Tell us about your love of flight. My love for flying started during my 6th grade year when a fire started by my house and I watched airplanes drop water on the fire. I love the feeling you get when in the air. There is no prettier view than seeing the world from above.
What made you decide to be a pilot? I decided to become a pilot when I was in 6th grade. I sat outside and watched airplanes dropping water on a fire. After that I went to Alaska for a summer and got to co-pilot a plane during a fly over fishing trip. After my first flight I knew I wanted to pursue flying.
What are you doing now to prepare for a career as a commercial airline pilot? Currently I am a student pilot flying 2-3 times a week as well as attending ground-school. By the end of summer, I will have my private pilot's license at which time I will continue to work on my flight hours and work towards a dual engine license.
What is training like? Training is so much fun! I have learned all parts of the plane, I’ve learned to take off and land the plane, I have learned wing-overs, how to stall a plane and recover. How to make an emergency landing in a field and what to do in case of an in-flight emergency. Ground school is the much less fun part of training but in order to do the fun stuff you have to have a good understanding of the basics.
What is the hardest part of training, versus the easiest? The hardest part of training would be comprehending all the information about flying. When learning to fly a lot of things play into it such as the weather. You have to become a weatherman in a sense and predict what the weather will be like up in the air. There are also certain air spaces and depending on the aircraft you're in you can only go so high or low in elevation. The easiest thing about training would be actually getting in the air and putting everything you’ve learned and studied into play.
How did you find and why did you choose Capture 1 Photography for your photographer? I found Capture 1 Photography when I had soccer pictures and he took our team pictures. He was so nice and funny that I went home, found his instagram and looked at his work and fell in love with it.
What was your photoshoot experience like? What did you love most about it? My photoshoot experience was amazing! My photographer, Darrin, was so helpful and funny! He helped me with so many things! My favorite part of this experience was getting to show Darrin the flight school and getting to take him flying with me.
Tell us about how you turned traumatic things in your life into part of your drive to overcome them and achieve such a high goal. I took my traumatic life events and used them well. I lived in uncertainty for a better part of my life, never knowing what was going to happen next and having to think 5 steps ahead, which is why I love flying so much. There is a level of uncertainty while in the air and I have to think 5 steps ahead. I took the trauma responses I learned and turned them into a future career as a pilot.
What were your biggest struggles and how did you overcome them? My biggest struggle trying to become a pilot would be believing in myself. I second guess if I’m actually good enough to fly or if I have what it takes to become a pilot. This is still something I struggle with but I’m getting better at dealing with. I tell myself that I am good enough and I look back at where I started and where I am today, and it helps give me reassurance. I do have what it takes to be an airline pilot.
What is a favorite memory in the air? My favorite memory in the air would be co-piloting a plane in Alaska and flying over a glacier and seeing so many things that so few people would ever get lucky enough to experience. This is my favorite memory because that was the moment, I knew I wanted to become a pilot.
What do you think that people who don't fly planes realize about piloting an aircraft? I think people who don’t fly don't realize that flying isn't like driving a car, it’s more like learning a whole new language. There’s so many things going on that you have to watch and pay attention to so many things at the same time. You also have to learn things that you didn’t learn the basics to in school. You have to put 1,500 hours of flying in just to be able to put a job application in to become a commercial pilot.
If you could own any plane, which would it be and why? If I could own any plane, it would be Pilatus PC/24 because it's a small private jet with all the bells and whistles! This jet is small enough to enjoy a quick flight, but also large enough that it doesn’t seem crammed. It also allows for there to be room for a co-pilot.
Where would you take your new plane if you could go anywhere and who would you take with you? I’d take my new plane to Scotland, I've always wanted to go to Scotland. I’d take my Mom, sisters, brother, and my boyfriend.
If you were to present a topic to a group of your peers, what would it be? I have two topics. One would be to not allow the bad things that have happened to you tear you down, but instead turn that mindset around and chase your dreams. Turn the bad into amazing.
What is the hardest thing you have ever accomplished, and how did you do it? The hardest thing I’ve ever done was living with a physically and mentally abusive biological father. Growing up and watching terrible things happen to my family and constantly living in fear showed me how I want a better life. Once my biological father was gone and no longer a threat to myself or my family, I started pushing to better my future and help my mom out as much as I could.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to be where you are today? I’d say start doing flight school as soon as possible so you can get a true feel of flying. The sooner you start flying the sooner you can get your hours done. Even if you don't want to become a pilot it’s still an amazing thing to experience.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years/what are your plans? In five years I see myself being a commercial pilot in Utah. I hope to be married by then with a beautiful house.
What is your favorite activity or pastime that was not in your nomination? My favorite activities are playing soccer and hanging out with family and friends.
Do you have a hidden talent? What is it? This was a difficult one to answer, I couldn’t think of anything as being a talent that I might have had. I asked a few people what hidden talents they saw in me and a majority of people said that I am very level headed. I see something that needs to be done and I do it. I have a way of thinking with my head and not my heart in order to complete tasks that need to get done.
3 Things on your bucket list One thing on my bucket list is to meet Luke Bryan. Another thing on my bucket list is to breed munchkin cats. Lastly, I'd like to buy a teal Jeep truck.
Who do you find inspiring? I get inspiration from my Mom. My mom inspires me because she works long days to provide for my siblings and I but still comes home happy. She also inspires me because she pushes and helps me follow my dreams.
What about you inspires others/why do you think you are inspiring? I think I inspire others because I’m 16 and already starting my career. I’m showing people that even though traumatizing things happen you can still get threw them and better your future
Is there anything else you would like to tell us? I’d like to say thank you for this experience. It has truly given me the opportunity to sit down and reflect on my life and my future and how far I have come and all of the things I have overcome. Thank you Inspiring Teens Magazine. Look for Haylee in issue 57 of Inspiring Teens Magazine!