TCC student Brian Poulin is working on his second Associate’s degree as part of the Aviation Sciences Technology – Professional Pilot program. He works in a Facility Support position with QuikTrip, where he’s been employed for the past seven years. In the fall, he worked 46 hours a week, carried a 4.0 GPA, and got his Private Pilot’s License in record time. He is motivated to fly.
Why did you want to be a pilot?
I grew up going to visit family in Maine and Massachusetts, so we were on a plane at least once a year. To this day I am still fascinated by them and how they work. My wife makes fun of me because I always want to sit near a window in the terminal so I can look outside at the planes. Most of the time I’m more excited about the plane ride than actually visiting family.
How’d you hear about TCC’s aviation program?
One of the QT managers I used to work with now flies the corporate jets for QuikTrip. I had known he was studying to be a pilot when I worked with him, but didn't know where. When it came time for me to enter flight school, I knew just who to ask. TCC came highly recommended.
How many flight hours do you have now?
I currently have 45.7 hours, all in TCC training aircraft.
How many did you have when you got your private pilot’s license?
When I went for my check-ride (the driver’s test of aviation), I had 35.3 hours of flight time and passed, earning my Private Pilot license.
Why is it such a big deal that you finished in 35.3 hours?
The FAA mandates that a student pilot must have at least 35 hours of training before being able to test for his/her Private Pilot License. This is the minimum you are allowed to have to be licensed. The national average for students getting their Private Pilot license is around 60 hours. Everyone learns at a different pace and many factors go in to how quickly and efficiently a student learns the material.
I have a cheap flight sim running low graphics on a 2007 PC. It was a large part of what helped me understand what I had trouble with in real flying. It allowed me to study from home and practice mistakes I made from the previous flight so that I didn't re-do them next flight. It isn't the latest and greatest, but it gets the job done, and that's what's important.
How has TCC helped you accomplish your goals?
TCC has provided a great facility with outstanding staff, including my flight instructor Miles, who are willing to go above and beyond to get me where I want to go. I feel the aircraft TCC provides us with are the latest and greatest for flight training aircraft. TCC provides all of this at an affordable price compared to other flight schools and the staff genuinely want to help you and see you succeed.
I'll never forget during orientation, the aviation center director said, "We aren't here to make a ton of money. If we can break even and get you guys where you want to be, then we're happy." I have truly felt this is an accurate statement as a TCC student. Everyone from my peers to the director of the facility and everyone in between has made this a great experience and made it feel like this is a place where I belong.
I am working on my Instrument Rating, which will allow me to fly into clouds. Once I'm done with that I will start Commercial training, then Multi-engine training. Following those I will become a flight instructor and then if I'm lucky, I will get to fly corporate jets for QT as a career!