Caitlyn Miller is a senior in the aviation program at Auburn, but did not take a usual route getting there.
“I just woke up one day the summer between freshman and sophomore year and thought this would be such a fun day to fly, so I might as well switch majors,” Miller said.
Growing up with the majority of her family involved in aviation, this thought was not as
“I knew I didn’t want to sit in an office,” Miller said. “With
Miller’s father is a Delta Captain who has flown several different commercial airplanes nationally and internationally. Her mother was a Delta ticket agent when they met.
Her brother and even several of her cousins are also involved in flying. Miller described it as running in the family, which inevitably made the profession appealing.
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When they were younger, their father would take them on trips every summer.
Her favorite trip she got to go on was when she was in high school. Their whole family got to go to Rome. One of the most expensive pieces of an overseas trip can be travel cost, but her father’s job made it possible.
“I remember when we were on that trip we ran into several people in Rome that my dad knew,” Miller said. “In an industry of thousands of
The idea of traveling to Europe and running into several friends was attractive to Miller.
In high school she fell in love with journalism, working for her school paper and even holding an editor’s position. She then came to Auburn in pursuit of a journalism degree.
“I like writing, but I don’t love it. I just felt I didn’t have a passion for it,” Miller said. “It was really bizarre, though my parents were obviously very supportive.”
Her dad had no shame in reminding her about how great Auburn’s flight program is before she switched majors.
“I am the first female from my family to come out and fly,” Miller said. “It’s hard to get into if you don’t have family ties, especially if you are female. Most females can get into the industry the exact same way as males, they just don’t know it.”
The majority of students enrolled in the flight program are male, though the sight of a woman in the cockpit is increasing.
There are many organizations that have formed from the program – one being Women in Aviation, in which Miller is an officer. Their mission is to promote flying for girls in the community as well as on campus.
Auburn takes you through a four-year flight school where students start out at “private” and work their way up to “certified flight instructor.”
Students sign up to fly three days a week with an instructor where they start their training. As the years go on students are able to log valuable hours and gain necessary skills.
“Every pilot remembers their first solo flight,” Miller said.
She described the adrenaline of floating through the clear blue sky, knowing she was the only thing keeping herself alive.
“One of my favorite parts of flying is seeing places from a new point of view,” Miller said. “Getting to see Jordan-Hare or Lake Martin from up in the clouds is unforgettable.”
In 10 years, Miller’s dream is to be flying for a major airline like Delta.
“It takes some time to get there, but the time spent building up those flight hours is worth it,” Miller said.
“I’m really looking forward to visiting every city this job will take me,” Miller said. “I think it’s going to be so exciting to run into Auburn alumni in airports as airline captains. Having the chance to fly with them one day would be even better.”
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