Paintings by Kelly Potter

 



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Kelly Potter Memorial Aviation Scholarship

Florida Institute of Technology


Allison's Biography

My love for aviation began casually – almost accidentally. The summer between my freshman and sophomore years of high school I worked in the greenhouses at Allen’s Farm growing produce and helping customers. All ten or so employees sat together and ate lunch everyday, talking and laughing. During one of our conversations, the owner, Phil Allen, asked me what I wanted to do with my life. I thought for a second and then asked him dreamily: Wouldn’t it be great to fly? To get paid for something so beautiful and enjoyable? It turned out that he had his pilot’s license and a credit for six hours of flight time at a tiny airport in central Maine. Two weeks later he had me taking off for the first time and I knew without a doubt that if I could do that everyday, I would be happy for the rest of my life.

At first, the airlines seemed like the best path to take; not only can one get paid a salary comparable to a physician’s, but it involves operating a massive, powerful aircraft that can take you all around the world. My goals changed, however, after my first year of college when I landed a job at Eastern Slopes Aviation. With only one runway barely over ¾ of a mile long, the Fryeburg airport does not seem like much, but working there changed my views forever. The Airport Authority owns a gorgeous Cessna 206 on amphibious floats and I jumped at the opportunity to fly with him, The mountains and endless forests of Maine were so different from the flat, featureless expanses of Florida I had become accustomed to when flying, not to mention that landing on water blew my mind. I had my private license then, but now, just two years later, I have my commercial pilot license for single engine land and sea as well as an instrument rating and my flight instructor ticket.

The beauty of Maine and the simplicity of life there opened my eyes to new opportunity. I realized that making a lot of money was not so important, that I want a family, and that I could not forsake the view from low altitudes or the feel of stick-and-rudder flying. A job with the airlines appeals to many, but it no longer interests me. I want to fly seaplanes for the rest of my life – aerial tours, instruction, transport – anything and anywhere from Maine to Alaska. Eventually, I would like to start my own business doing tours and giving instruction with my own fleet of seaplanes. This dream will not be attainable, however, if I do not graduate with a degree in Aviation Management. I am well on my way to my goal: I am doing very well at an excellent school, both in my classes and at the airport and I am motivated by a genuine dream. I was fortunate enough to get a personal scholarship from the Airport Authority to get my commercial seaplane rating, but a semester of school is still ahead, as well as two more flight courses (CFII and Multi). I live with my grandmother off campus.

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Allison Navia, Kelly Potter Memorial Aviation Scholarship For Women Recipient, 2007