Standing beneath the airplanes as they came in for landing, the roar of the engine and the size of the airplane had 3-year-old Kodye Shier hooked. He said it was then he knew he wanted to fly.
Now, at 22, Shier has already made his dream come true and is a pilot rated for commercial single and multi-engine land and airplane instruments. Shier is also a flight instructor intern at Fox Valley Technical College, where he teaches ground and flight basics.
“I teach students with zero experience in flying how to fly commercial single and multi-engine planes, and I train them with using instruments,” Shier said.
After graduating from FVTC with a degree in aviation in 2011, Shier began his flight instructor internship, and in spring 2012 he began his coursework at UW Oshkosh.
“The main reason I chose to go on for my bachelor’s degree is I want to work for Legacy Airlines, which consists of all the major airlines, such as Delta and Southwest. They require a bachelor’s degree,” Shier said. “The UW Oshkosh program is 100 percent online, so I can gain flight hours working at FVTC and earn my bachelor’s degree at the same time.”
For Shier, the decision to attend UW Oshkosh was largely based on cost and the ability to transfer his credits.
“Other four-year schools are a lot more expensive, and at FVTC they offer the same thing, if not more,” Shier said. “You actually get more ratings at FVTC, and the fact that they have the transfer agreement with UW Oshkosh really saves a lot of cost.”
Shier is currently enrolled in the Leadership and Organizational Studies online bachelor’s degree program at UW Oshkosh, and said he wants to enroll in the Aviation Management emphasis.
“I plan to take the aviation emphasis because I have such a drive for aviation,” Shier said. “It is easier to go to school for something that you really want — it makes retaining information a lot easier.”
Another factor that helped Shier choose on said he wanted a bachelor’s degree program he could take completely online, which is how he chose UW Oshkosh.
“It’s very convenient with my busy work schedule,” Shier said. “It’s nice to know that I can devote all of my time during the day and evenings to students and, and all I need to do is organize my schedule to get as much work done earlier in the week.”
The adjustment from hands-on classroom learning to online learning was an adjustment for Shier, but he said his instructors were very flexible and easy to work with.
Shier continues to work full-time as a flight instructor intern while taking classes, which he said has challenged him mentally, but it wasn’t more than he could handle.
“I’ve talked to a lot of pilots who went through the FVTC aviation program and they said there is a lot of downtime in the hotels,” Shier said. “What else are you going to do besides schoolwork — you’ve got to keep yourself busy.”
While a bachelor’s degree isn’t required to become a pilot, most companies are using it as another way to filter their applicants, according to Shier.
“Sometimes they don’t say that they need it, but they do,” Shier said. “There’s not an airline, besides the regionals, that doesn’t require a bachelor’s degree.”
As Shier continues to work towards his goal of working for Legacy Airlines, he said it means a lot to him to be able to show people how close he is.
“There were people who didn’t believe me when I said I wanted to go to school to be a pilot,” Shier said. “So, it’s pretty cool to go back home and show my friends that I am achieving my goals and living my dream.”