Flying High in Aviation: Interview with Alumnus Dakota Meyer

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Dakota Meyer graduated from Florida Tech with a Bachelor of Science degree in Aviation Management with Flight. Here is an interview about his career, Florida Tech memories and more!

Where have you worked since graduation and what is your current job?

Since my graduation in December 2011, I have held three different jobs with three different employers. The first was flight instructing for FIT Aviation at the Melbourne airport from December 2011 until November 2012. After my time instructing, I took a pilot position with a local Melbourne company called Satcom Direct. I flew with them from November 2012 till December 2013. During that time, I flew the Cessna CJ and a CJ3, which are both two engine jets. My next and current employer is Republic Airlines. I’m flying as a first officer (second in command) on the Embraer ERJ 170/175/190. The capacity of these aircraft ranges from 69 to 99 passengers with a total crew of four or five.

How has Florida Tech prepared you for your career?

Florida Tech helped prepare me with my aviation career by giving me top notch training both in the air and also on the ground. I was able to take what I had learned in class and refine that knowledge with my individual flight instructor, then apply and master that knowledge to actual flying. This includes everything from understanding weather to long distance flight and fuel planning.

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What is your favorite memory of Florida Tech? What did you like best about it?

My most memorable moment of Florida Tech is the student population. With the school having a small student body, I saw many of the same people regularly and was able to make friendships with many different types of people. Of those friends, a lot are not in the aviation field. With that said, I feel as though that has made me more diverse by learning from them about their own field of study, as well as giving me friendships that will last a very long time.

How has being a Florida Tech graduate benefited you in the aviation industry?

Being a Florida Tech graduate has helped me in the field with networking. There has been countless times where I climb into the cockpit and ask the captain where he/she attended school and they say Florida Tech. Right then, a new connection has been made and also the knowledge that we are both well-trained professionals. Employers also take note; one of the very first things an interviewer would ask me is “do you know _________ from Florida Tech by chance?”  At that moment, I know that Florida Tech has made a good impression on the person and has a good reputation in the industry.

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What is the best part about being a pilot?

To say or select one thing as the best part of being a pilot would be an injustice. So I’ll say this, the feeling you get when the tires leave the ground is indescribable. It’s a sense of freedom that unless you have flown a plane yourself into the air, you can never know. When you are aloft and in cruise at 40,000 feet, you see the earth from god’s eye and how he had intended it to be seen. It is a world without boarders, not as the map makers would have you believe. You see the grace and magnificence of the Rockies and the power of water with the Grand Canyon or Niagara Falls. We get to see Mother Nature’s beauty, but also its wrath. Enormous storm systems that are hundreds of miles long and thunderstorms that tower above us filled with lightning, sometimes reaching heights of 70,000 feet. Also, the sense of responsibility that is bestowed upon you by the public is amazing. You are taking an 80,000 pound piece of metal 30-40,000 feet in the air, travel at just under the speed of sound, and then safely return back to the earth without incident. It truly is an amazing feat.

What would you want to tell a prospective Florida Tech student?

My advice to any potential student would be to never give up. This industry is a very tough one, yet rewarding in both monetary value and self-fulfillment. It is not an industry where things will fall into your lap. It you want it, and then you must go get it. Friends in the industry will help and guide you to your goals if you ask them, and they are always there because someone most likely helped them to get where they are. Also, this industry does not tolerate laziness or dishonesty. Admitting wrongs and learning from them will let you go further and gain you greater respect in your career more than anything. But overall, I’ve never had any regrets and love every day that I fly. I always tell a joke to those I meet, “My fourth grade teacher once told me that I would never get to sit in an office looking out a window and get paid for it … well, I showed her!”

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