Feature Story on North Hills’ Emma Gottschalk


Lena Hines

A young inspired girl talks herself up to fly this plane. Other pilots dressed in take off gear to
help Emma on this flight are ready. The bright blue sky looks high and ready to take on.
I interviewed senior of 2023 Emma Gottschalk who is pursuing the job of becoming a pilot.
Emma is attending college at Kent State University. You may ask how this career choice
inspires her?
She stated, “my dad is definitely my biggest inspiration to pursue this job. He has been my
biggest supporter throughout my journey so far and I feel like this process has brought us closer
together.” Emma shared her biggest stressor when flying, “my biggest stressor is trying not to
become a hole in the ground.” Emma is still learning and training but she got to experience
flying over the city of Pittsburgh 3,000 ft in the air, “we were right above all of the buildings. The
view was amazing.” She decided she wanted to be a pilot because she always loved traveling
and being on the “big planes”. “Last summer I took a discovery flight in the smallest plane I’ve
ever seen, and was hooked! This process to fly the plane seems super hard doesn’t it?
According to Emma, the process is actually not as hard as it seems. “When you are on the
ground, all your snow is actually with foot pedals, not the yoke or control stuff. And when you
are in the air you have to balance using both the foot pedals and yoke!” Emma said she hadn’t
seen too many strange things in the sky yet, but surprisingly she didn’t see a bird in the air until
her first solo flight. “How do you even become a pilot”, we may ask Emma? “ To be an airline
pilot, you have to have a private pilot license, instrument rating, commercial license, and an ATP
(Air Transport Pilot Certificate). To get your ATP, you have to have 1,500 flight hours. So, it takes
a few years to get all your ratings done and build your time.” I think we all agree turbulence is
super scary in the air, but does it affect the pilot the same way it does passengers? “ Nope, you
just have to think of it like a boat going over a wave. There’s nothing you can do to stop it, you
just have to go with it.” Emma has shared 3 positives of this career choice she said they were, “
getting to travel the world and get paid to do it, every day is different, and it’s super rewarding.”
Big question here we’ve all been waiting for, do you get travel discounts? Emma said “no.” She
will shortly be rewarded with that opportunity soon though!
Let’s all wish Emma the best of luck! She’s pursuing a very fun job and may even be your pilot
one day.