Rendell Veldstra discusses his dreams of flight and the challenges of pilot training as he reaps the wind in his pursuit to become a professional helicopter pilot.
[UPDATE 01.24.15 – Rendell Veldstra was hired as a helicopter flight instructor at the Guidance Aviation flight operations in Baton Rouge, LA. Congrats Rendell!]
Just like a farmer choosing the ideal time to harvest for best yield, Rendell Veldstra speaks to you with the cadence of one carefully choosing the right words for optimal impact. His thoughtful articulation draws you in to listen and you realize you’re speaking with an exceptionally modest yet driven person. A rare combination of character qualities these days – at least in our book.
This civilian flight student’s childhood memories were saturated with watching dare devil crop dusters, remote controlled aircraft, and aviation television shows while his youthful daydreams were enveloped in “piloting anything and everything, fictional aircraft or real”.
Why a helicopter pilot we asked?
“While working at the race track, I was speaking with an older friend and expressing my desire to fly as a career. His pitch to me was simply, “You should fly helicopters. If I could do it again, I would have done that.” For whatever reason, my respect for him, or I just needed an excuse, I decided at that moment, that I wanted to be a career helicopter pilot,” said Veldstra.
“I wanted to fly airplanes (“ceased wing” as this helicopter pilot refers to airplanes) before I decided to fly helicopters,” mentions Veldstra. “There was and still is something romantic and alluring about the fixed-wing world that beckons me. Be it the old timers and their war stories, military or not, the comradery between aviation enthusiasts participating in something they all know is special. It fascinates me. However, I chose to fly helicopters as a career because of the type of flying they have the ability to do. I would not be remotely satisfied with just flying from point “A” to point “B” in a fixed-wing. Of course fixed-wing is not just limited to that, but the capability of a helicopter for work best suits my personality and my future work interests.”
Why Guidance Aviation?
“Why I chose Guidance Aviation is a no-brain-er to me. I am reluctant to say that my first impression of Guidance Aviation had any influence in my decision to attend here, but the truth is it did. The flight schools I visited prior to Guidance Aviation did not appeal to me or make an effort to do so. Conversely, the Guidance Aviation staff presented themselves well and I could plainly see during my grounds visit that they weren’t all just talk. It was like seeing through an open face clock. You could see things were highly organized, highly orchestrated, to a high degree of precision. It is a well oiled machine. Their values were in tune with my high standards,” says Veldstra.
Challenges of Flight Training – Battling the Inner-Self
When asked what is the most challenging thing about the flight training, Veldstra once again displayed his modesty and humility. “The most challenging aspect for me in my training to date is myself. I have been the most difficult thing impeding the furtherance of my training. By that I mean to say that it has been a very personal journey in self-reflection, learning about myself in how I deal with stresses associated with aviation and how I have a predisposition to hinder myself from my full potential as a pilot. Overcoming myself and negative thoughts is still something I am learning how to effectively do,” admits Veldstra.
Most Memorable Moments – “I Can Do This!”
“I have a few “most memorable moments” during my aviation training in both fixed wing and rotor-wing aircraft. Two of the biggest things I hope to never forget about my fixed-wing experiences are, my very first solo flight in a Cessna 150 and my first radio failure as a solo pilot. Both experiences were special in their own right, be it a boost in confidence or a very humbling situation. A few of my favorite memories in regards to rotor-wing are, my first solo in a helicopter; passing my private pilot checkride; and getting to finally take my father for a helicopter ride. Previously having already soloed in an fixed-wing aircraft, my first solo in a helicopter was a more relaxing experience, allowing me to really enjoy what it was I was doing. Passing my private pilot checkride has been the biggest milestone in conquering my self-defeating thoughts. If I equate that to the hazardous attitude “resignation”… “I can make a difference”, as to say “NO! I CAN DO THIS!” Lastly, getting to take my father for a helicopter ride wasn’t so much as immediately gratifying as it was rewarding. Even thought the flight itself was kind of boring. I get the most gratification in knowing I demonstrated my new skill to my father,” said Veldstra.
Thanking and Giving By Action, Not Words
Veldstra concluded our conversation with thanking his family and supporters: “There are no words powerful enough, potent enough, no quantifiable amount of words to express my gratuity to my family and friends who have supported me in my endeavor to be a helicopter pilot. My hope, more than words can encapsulate, is to physically give by action the same support to them as they given to me, in whatever way appropriate. To show my appreciation for their support,” states Veldstra.
A Day in The Life of Helicopter Flight Student Rendell Veldstra
In this video, you get a glimpse of what it is like to train, fly, and chase your dreams of flight.
As of 6/24/14 Rendell Veldstra is an instrument rated Private Pilot, Helicopters, and is ready to take his commercial checkride. Best of luck Rendell!!
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