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The Aero Experience is a celebration of Midwest aviation and aerospace achievement. We invite you to join us as we explore the treasures of Midwest aviation through first-hand experiences. Our contributors take turns flying lead, and we are always looking for new destinations. Check in with The Aero Experience frequently to see where we will land today, and then go out and have your own aero experiences!

Blue skies,

Carmelo Turdo, Mark Nankivil and Fred Harl - The Aero Experience Team












Monday, March 2, 2015

Young Pilot Turns Inspiration Into Reality, Sets Lofty Goals for Aviation Career

Adrianne Weber
By Carmelo Turdo
The Midwest Aviation community has a long legacy of great achievers, and more are joining the aviator ranks every day.  One of those bright new faces of aviation is the St. Louis area's Adrianne Weber, who received her Private Pilot Certificate at Air Associates of Missouri at Spirit of St. Louis Airport on February 19.  The achievement was the culmination of much hard work, and the beginning of another round of training for additional pilot ratings.  The Aero Experience visited with Adrianne Weber recently, and found her story to be one that will inspire the rest of us to keep working until we achieve no less than the goals we set in life.

Adrianne Weber's successful flight exam was completed after months of dedication toward attaining that goal.  After enrolling in flight training at Air Associates of Missouri, she soloed in a Cessna 172 in September of 2014 and continued training under the tutelage of instructor Peter Gibbs.  Weber flew three lessons per week when possible and used the self-study Cessna web-based ground school materials to prepare for the written exam, which she passed with a 92% score.  She kept up her rigorous flight training schedule while pursuing her bachelor's degree in Education as a full-time student at the University of Missouri - St. Louis, working at Air Associates of Missouri 10 hrs/week, working at the nearby Spirit Pilot Shop 5-10 hrs/week and doing other odd jobs as well.     

Weber also credited Air Associates of Missouri for their team-centered approach to flight training.  “Air Associates of Missouri is very student-centered.  It is a big community,” she said.  "All departments help students succeed – office staff, instructors, maintenance...all contribute to student success."  There was also a good working relationship with her flight instructor, Peter Gibbs, a Parks College of St. Louis University graduate with a degree in Flight Science.  “There is a level of respect between student and instructor," Weber continued.  She regards Gibbs as “very smart” with an ability to intuitively know when to stop bad habits in flying.  He always keeps training relevant.    

Adrianne Weber and
Patty Wagstaff
(Adrianne Weber photo)
Adrianne Weber with
Doug Gardner
(Doug Gardner photo)
Adrianne Weber recognizes others who have helped her along the way to make her dream of flight a reality.  Her parents are first to mind.  They fueled a passion for flight by bringing her to airshows and encouraging her to follow her dreams.  Weber took an introductory flight at the age of 15, and even though she did not continue with lessons, she continued to get her education and plan for the future.  Seeing Patty Wagstaff perform at the 2013 Fair St. Louis airshow inspired to her to consider going back into pilot training.  Then in May of 2014, her father arranged for the opportunity of a lifetime - meet the legendary (St. Louis-born) Patty Wagstaff and serve as part of her crew for the Spirit of St. Louis Airshow with The Aero Experience friend Doug Gardner.  Weber learned to preflight and refuel Wagstaff's aircraft and this time experience the airshow at the side of the First Lady of aerobatics.  The pursuit of aerobatic training has become a new priority, along with the attainment of an instrument rating and commercial pilot license in the near future.

Adrianne Weber with
Grandfather, Roger Weber
on a  flight over St. Louis
(Adrianne Weber photo)
Adrianne Weber also recognizes the value of being mentored, especially by other women in a traditionally male field.  She also "walks the walk" when it comes to encouraging other women to enter the field of aviation by mentoring a young lady working toward her first solo flight. "It is important to know other women in the aviation field to make connections and encourage each other," she said.  She also gives this advice to anyone beginning flight instruction and for life in general: “Keep your eyes on the goal.  Don’t let setbacks stop your progress.  Work as hard as you can.  At the end of the day you can say you put all of your effort into achieving your goals.”  



 

 

 

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