Flight Line Newsletters
SPR 2018: Onwards & Upwards!
CJ Helter and John Boudler receive flight slots in the United States Air Force!
John Boulder and CJ Helter, two Flight Technology & Operations students at BGSU, received flight slot to fly for the United States Air Force! They will both be commissioned in May 2019. We congratulate them on all the hard work and effort it has taken to get them to this point. We are very proud of both of these young men. Please read below a bit about each of these amazing men.
CJ Helter (Left)
I can remember all the way back to my elementary school years wanting to be a pilot. As I grew up, my desire to fly was only intensified after being introduced to the "Star Wars" movies, experiencing Luke Skywalker make the Trench Run and fly his X-Wing, and after my first real experience at an airport when my family vacationed to Disney World when I was around 5 years old. As I grew up, I can always remember telling my grandparents when I would visit them that I wanted to be a pilot and there was no other job that I could see myself doing. My main goal was and always has been to become a pilot for the United States Air Force, to not only continue flying but to fly some of the world's most advanced and fastest aircraft. When I first entered college back in the fall of 2012, I never truly understood what all it took to get where I wanted to be, so I enlisted in the United States Air Force Air National Guard based out of Toledo Ohio, home to the 180th Fighter Wing. I figured the best way to learn about Air Force pilots was to join the Air Force and enter the world in which they exist. On Friday, February 16th 2018, I was notified that I was selected to attend Undergraduate Pilot Training and to become a pilot for the Air Force. My hopes and dreams had finally become a reality. No matter how many times I take off, land or log cross country time, I have always felt that it is incomprehensible to compare the view from 5,000 feet in the air to someone who has never experienced it, to truly grasp the magnificence and gorgeousness the Earth has to offer, that those who are not pilots will never truly understand. Through my entire journey, what I always felt and consistently found was that if you truly want to achieve your dreams and goals, that if you pour 110% of your time and effort into pursuing them, then the sky is literally the limit. If you want it bad enough, then go get after it, and the only person holding you back is yourself. "Where there's a will, there's a way."
John Boudler (Right)
Ever since I was a child, I have always held a certain respect for military members. I held a special appreciation for their dedication, selflessness, professionalism, and character. I saw the values they live by as ones that everyone should, and believed that I would be a better person if I joined the military. But I did not have to join the military or live with service members to learn these values because I had my parents to look up to. They have always displayed these same values in their lives, even though neither have ever served. In fact, it was only a few months ago that a Colonel, a man who had easily spent almost 20 years in the Air Force, was convinced that my Father had served just by meeting him. I am grateful to my parents for many things, but one thing I am most thankful for is their unending dedication to helping me reach my goals and live my dreams. Throughout my whole life, they have stood by me, provided me with more opportunities to learn and succeed than I could have possibly imagined, and encouraged me to venture beyond the bounds of my comfort zone. Of the many things I have learned, one was of the majesty of flight. Through my experience, I have found that it is a truly special thing to fly. To operate such a complex marvel of human engineering as an airplane and to see the world from above is a unique experience. It insists that one view the Earth from a different perspective. The people who do view the world with this different perspective make up a culture that resembles few others, one of them being that of military pilots. They have combined this perspective with the values and characteristics of service members. Again, I have always held a certain level of respect for servicemen and women, and an even greater respect for military aviators, especially fighter pilots. Theirs is a tight-knit community. Their brotherhood is a truly special one that I have only been able to briefly glimpse into, but it is one that I strive to belong to. The tales of fighter pilots have always been ones like those of cowboys and frontiersmen. They are stories of men that flew high into the unknown with courage and bravado. I have listened to the stories, and now I seek to write my own. It is said that one should never trade the thrill of living for the safety of existence, and I never intend to make that trade. The next step is to continue on to commissioning in the Air Force. It is then when I will begin my story.
Nov 2017: Featured Alumni Extended Article
First, I'd like to say that I'm humbled to be a part of the BGSU Aviation family! My start in aviation started when I fourteen years old growing up in Morgantown, West Virginia. After moving to Powell (Columbus), OH my junior year of high school, I started looking into the service academies, ROTC and the various aviation schools. I chose to pursue BGSU and started flying right away during the fall semester of 2003. Unfortunately, the Air Force ROTC didn’t work out for me as there weren’t pilot slots being allocated, so I concentrated on being a normal student. After spending countless hours of hard work, balancing academics and social life, volunteering and more I found myself ready to exit BGSU in the fall of 2006
After working as a flight instructor and building my flight hours during my junior and senior years, I was able to obtain a new job in Greenville, NC. In Greenville, at the age of 22, I asked my boss, “What do I need to do to get out of flight instructing?” He pointed me to a little regional airline called Piedmont and in summer of 2007, 6 months after graduating from BGSU, I started flying for the airlines. A few years later, after getting married and having other life changing events, I saw the window to apply for US Airways open and I went for it, I was graciously offered the job.
It’s been a journey beyond my wildest dreams. We just completed the largest merger in aviation history between US Airways and American Airlines to create the world’s largest airline that has retained the name American Airlines. A little over a year ago, I took the opportunity to upgrade to captain on the Embraer 190. Being one of the youngest captains at the world’s largest airline is an amazing, humbling and a challenging position.
The biggest lesson I took from BGSU is simple. Don’t burn bridges. It’s amazing how small of an industry aviation is in retrospect. You will never stop running into a familiar faces amongst tens of thousands of pilots, hundreds of corporations and companies of all backgrounds. One of the highlight of my career was connecting with fellow alum, Raphael Vasconcelos, in his hometown of Rio de Janeiro. It was the summer of 2014 and I was operating a flight from Charlotte, NC to Rio on the Boeing 767. I was sitting in my hotel room when I got the Facebook alert "hey are you in town." Long story short and many hours later, a lifelong memory was formed by Raphael’s hospitality to show me and my fellow pilot his beautiful hometown. Whether it’s stateside or a million miles away from home, you will always find that certain fraternity of familiar faces. Always be willing to extend a hand of help when you’re on top in life, you never know when you will find yourself back at the bottom wishing for that same hand of help. I unfortunately didn’t learn this lesson as a younger ego driven pilot. Nevertheless, lessons learned make you stronger.
It’s not old news, THERE IS A PILOT SHORTAGE. For those looking into attending BGSU, those currently enrolled at BGSU and those post graduate, we will all bare the fruit of supply and demand. When I started at Piedmont Airlines, It wasn’t uncommon for pilots to wait seven to ten years to upgrade to captain and finally make a decent wage ($50,000-$80,000). Fast forward a decade and the regional airlines are hurting for pilots. Some regional airlines are being forced to cancel flights due to lack of qualified crewmembers. Upgrading to captain is as quick as one year. Most regional airlines all are offering signing bonuses, retention bonuses and various contractual improvements that is making the career more appetizing.
Lastly, it’s hard to look at the big picture while in school when you’re worried about the current stress of college life. If you can find down time, do your research, call an alum, and make connections, find a plan A, B and C. Never feel alone. We are fortunate at BGSU to have numerous alumni in all aspects of this industry. We are all willing to help extend the hand of help. The vast network of alumni is only one of the numerous benefits of being a part of the BGSU aviation family. Fly safe, study hard, perfect your craft and enjoy the journey along the way.