This month's Aviator Spotlight shines its light on Ben "Benzo" Baumgardner. Ben is a prime example of why Scanners™ shines its spotlight on individuals in the aviation community. Hear his story, told in his own words.
Hello! My name is Ben Baumgardner. I am currently a Sophomore at Minnesota State University Mankato and am working for my Commercial Single-engine add-on. Being able to fly planes has been a dream for me ever since I was in early middle school. I watched Top Gun, played GTA V and fell in love with planes and flying ever since. Unfortunately, I did not act on this love because I was told by peers that I would never be able to fly because of my poor vision when uncorrected. It was also at this same time that I was also unhealthy. At the start of high school I got into shape, lost weight and started holding myself to a higher standard. Start of junior year I met an Air Force sergeant and asked him if I could actually fly planes even with my condition. Turns out I could. So of course I started looking into flight schools near me.
"Unfortunately, I did not act on this love because I was told by peers that I would never be able to fly because of my poor vision when uncorrected."
Later that year of high school, I started flight training at Lake Elmo Aero. This was also the year that the Covid-19 outbreak happened, which actually helped.
"While at times it can be demoralizing and unmotivating, it is all about getting back up, recognizing your goals and crushing them."
Being a pilot isn't easy at all. All I show in my stories and posts are pictures of actual flying, and the beautiful sights and experiences I get to have as a pilot. But I do not show the hours upon hours of ground work and studying. While at times it can be demoralizing and unmotivating, it is all about getting back up, recognizing your goals and crushing them. As I'm wrapping up commercial training, and about to begin a new semester at college and start Instructor training, I like to think back to where I've come from since middle school. Younger me would be so proud and happy of the hard work that I have put to get to where I am at now.
Thank you, Ben, for sharing your aviation story. If you have a story you would like to share with the world send it to us at AviatorSpotlight@scannersifr.com. We look forward to hearing from you and sharing your story!
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