Carolyn Sharp

by Carolyn Sharp on July 22, 2022

SAFE #: S0008775

Hometown: Pueblo CO, United States

Home Airport: KCOS

Occupation: Chief Flight Instructor / Chief Pilot

Education: B.S. Computer Science, Michigan State University

Pilot Certificates: Commercial Single & Multiengine Land Instrument Airplane, CFI, CFII

Airplanes Flying/Flown: Diamond DA20-C1, Piper Cherokee products, Piper light twins, Cessna products, 7ECA Citabria, etc.

Educational Specialty: Flight Instruction and mentoring

Q & A

What drew you to aviation?: I watched Star Wars one too many times as a child and wanted to bullseye womp rats in my T-16. I honestly have nothing much else to point at. Aviation seemed like a great challenge, and a way to find new perspectives. Plus, my other dream of being the first woman to play 3rd base for the Cleveland Indians was unlikely to pan out.

How long have you been involved in aviation education?: I have been a flight instructor since 2002, but only full time since 2015.

What's your favorite part of what you do in aviation education?: Those student "light-bulb" moments are the best. I really love first solos!

What's your least favorite part of what you do in aviation education?: Having to remind people self-study is a necessity. There really isn't learning by osmosis.

Do you have a memorable aviation experience you'd like to share?: Most recently while working for my previous employer I was able to get formation qualified (the only one without a military background) and got to fly 4-ship for the local community during holidays and veteran's events. It was humbling to get to participate in those fly-bys, and more so to get to be the Missing Man aircraft.

Why did you join SAFE?: A wise man once said, "With great power comes great responsibility." I just recently became a Part 141 Chief Flight Instructor, and I want to make sure I have additional resources to tap into as I help improve processes, instructor techniques, and mentor fellow CFIs.

What would you like to see change in aviation?: It would be fantastic to see a more European or military model of flight training, with ab initio routes straight into the right seat of a commercial aircraft without having to pay so many dues.

Any suggestions on how the above might be accomplished?: It will mean very strict oversight and rules for those schools and operators hoping to use that model, but there is potential to improve both the cost and efficiency of training without decreasing safety. Each person would still need a significant amount of time and additional training to upgrade to Captain, but the model works. I just spent 7 years teaching Air Force Initial Flight Training, worked with many retired or former military pilots who succeeded on the same model, and saw my own students do the same.

Who are your role models in aviation?: First and foremost, the CFI who was the foundation of almost everything I know, Chuck Sova, deserves a mention. His patience knew no bounds. I also met a fantastic group of pilots in the early days of the Interwebs, many of whom I still stay in touch with. They are too numerous to name, but it would be wrong not to mention Barbara "Moxie" Brinck who brought us all together but left us too soon in 2011.

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