“Having the event through the University and just having it free makes it more accessible, at least for people to get a taste of flying and the joys that come along with it," McCorquodale said.
Shelton, a sophomore Peace, War and Defense major, will take up three passengers in the Cessna Skylane. Shelton received her private pilot’s license in Jan. 2018.
“Once you land, all the faces on people who have never flown on these planes before just look really excited," Shelton said. "Most of the time we have great reactions.”
CGA is a student organization dedicated to strengthening the link between the UNC community and general aviation with educational and flying events. CGA also partners with Wings of Carolina Flying Club for various aviation events. Shelton said CGA aims to host two flying events per semester to expose more students to general aviation in a memorable way.
Despite the projected increase in air travel over the next 20 years, the number of pilots has decreased by 30 percent over the past 30 years, threatening the stability of the U.S. airline industry, according to MarketWatch. Shelton said earlier exposure to flying could drum up interest in students and help combat the pilot shortage.
“I think introducing people to aviation is really important now to get them started if it’s something that they want to pursue,” said Shelton. “Then we can help them make connections with other pilots in the area or other instructors in the area.”
Malak Harb, a senior computer science major, is returning to Burlington-Alamance Regional Airport for the first time since her discovery flight, an introductory lesson to flight training, in high school. Harb joined CGA last year, but began the process of obtaining her pilot’s license several years ago.
“Flying helps a lot with stress and anxiety because you feel so in control of just your situation and your life around you,” Harb said. “A lot of times, if I’m talking to someone and they’re telling me that they’re feeling very anxious in their life, I’ll tell them, ‘You should take a discovery flight.'"