Aubrey Isakson Soaring to New Heights

CHS student interns at Eagle Aircraft

Credited to: Aubrey Isakson

Credited to: Aubrey Isakson

Audrey White, Opinions Section Editor

Senior Aubrey Isakson is on her way to earning her private pilot license.


Beginning her internship with Eagle Aircraft, a flight school in Valparaiso, Indiana, Isakson has been able to launch her aviation career as a high school student. After learning about aviation and piloting licenses over the summer, Isakson’s fascination grew. Due to the intensive nature of acquiring the proper licensing, she was unsure if she was able to pursue her dream. However, Chesterton High School’s (CHS) internship program allowed Isakson the opportunity to continue with her goals.  


“The internship has given me that ability to even get this done. I don’t think I would have gotten this done without the internship,” said Isakson.


Isakson has flown since June of 2022 and has held her internship since August. During the school day, she leaves in the afternoon to attend flight school. There, she goes over her itinerary with her flight instructor. She typically stays at the airport five to six times a week and operates the Cessna-172, Plane 4347 ROMEO, and 762.


Isakson has flown cross country to Warsaw, West Lafayette, and Gary, Indiana, and speaks with the air traffic control. When she returns to Eagle Aircraft, she discusses what went well and what can be improved for future flights. Additionally, she also has traveled to LaPorte, Gary, and Michigan City’s airport. Excitingly, Isakson is now endorsed to fly solo to Warsaw, Indiana.


Back in November, she flew about 20 times. However, as the Northwest Indiana winters brush in, inclement weather can be a holdup. When the weather is unsuitable for flying, Isakson takes to studying. 


Outside of school, Isakson is involved in tennis, hiking, and STEM-related activities. After graduation from CHS, Isakson plans to attend Purdue PolyTech with a major in professional flight and is considering adding a double major or minor in business or a STEM-based field. 


In aviation, a student must begin by earning their private license, then graduating to instrument training so that they may legally fly into the clouds. From there the student can earn their commercial license while accumulating 250 hours. Isakson has already completed 40 hours and aspires to be an airline pilot. To continue through the hierarchy of licenses to work as an airline pilot, a student is required to earn an ATP license and an RTP license in college, as well as accumulate 1,000 hours.


Isakson’s final check ride before she officially earns her license is upcoming- and it is six hours long! The exam includes an oral portion lasting four hours where the student walks their instructor through various scenarios, utilizing what they have learned. Following the oral portion is the action-based portion where the student completes a two-hour cross-country flight.


“It’s definitely a roller coaster feeling because one minute [it’s like] oh my gosh I can’t believe I’m doing this…but definitely that feeling of totally being in control and being able to land that plane by yourself is exhilarating,” Isakson said.