Ethan Pine ’22 — I would like to start by thanking the Dill Fund for enabling me to have this incredible internship experience. Without the Dill Fund, I would not have been able to explore and learn about the aviation community and learn the behind-the-scenes work that goes into maintaining and running an airport, ultimately leading to my pursuit of a career in aviation.
This summer I have had the wonderful opportunity to assist at the Crawfordsville Regional Airport. I work with airport manager Lori Curless and the rest of her staff to help with fueling operations, aircraft towing and marshaling, cleaning of the Terminal, hangar maintenance, and daily inspections of space and facilities such as runway, taxiways, navigational aids, lighting, and fuel quality to meet state and federal airport rules and regulations.
My time at Crawfordsville Regional Airport has been a huge learning experience and has influenced my future, as I am now planning to pursue a career in aviation. The biggest thing I have learned is how much “behind the scenes” work there is to keep an airport up and running. From things as simple as cutting the grass and oiling the hangar doors, to things as important as testing fuel quality and relaying information to incoming pilots, Everything must work like a well-oiled machine otherwise the safety of the pilot, passengers, airport staff, and even community is at risk. Lori Curless, the manager of CRA, has also taken the time to teach me about aviation and airports during the time not spent on airport maintenance. Outside of direct airport operations; I have also learned valuable lessons about communication and customer relations. From proper radio communication to holding conversations with pilots on the ground, the aviation community is all about communication. It is through these communications that we not only ensure pilot and customer satisfaction, but it has also helped me to create a lasting network of great people. With these connections, I have made, and the nature of my internship, I also have had the opportunity to work on my private pilot’s license which has been a reward in and of itself.
Overall, this internship opportunity, thanks to the Crawfordsville Regional Airport and Wabash College, has led to one of the most exciting, influential, and educational summers of my life. I also again thank the Dill fund for creating this opportunity for Wabash students and hope that more Wabash men are able to utilize this awesome opportunity.