Redhawks and soaring go hand-in-hand. The start of Southeast's Professional Pilot program was cleared for takeoff this fall, and Assistant Professor Miranda Sullivan landed in Cape Girardeau about a year ago to help lead the program.
Miranda's love for aviation didn't have the typical start. She didn't have family members who flew professionally. She didn't dream of the day she would take off into the clouds. In fact, she wanted to be a veteranarian. However, after realizing she wasn't suited for some of the more delicate parts of working with sick animals, Sullivan went in search of a new career.
With this new career path in her sights, Miranda got to work earning her flight certifications. During school she juggled being a Division I athlete, being on the equestrian team, and earning flight time. Needless to say, Miranda was a busy student. As she stepped into the world of aviation, she realized she knew nothing about engines or mechanics. At first, Miranda assumed she would switch majors once her courses became too difficult. But, once she got off the ground for her private pilot's license there was no turning back. She came away with several certificates, including her private pilot's license, flight instructor certification, and multi-engine instructor certification. Miranda also gained experience with tail wheel and high-performance aircraft.
She describes her first flight by herself as surreal.
Now, she's teaching future pilots how to fly. The Professional Pilot Program at Southeast welcomed its first group of students in 2021. Miranda says students with any knowledge base can come here to learn about aviation. Our students have the opportunity to receive up to seven certificates or ratings. Miranda instructs students in ground courses where they learn the ins and outs of the aircraft and within their first few days, Southeast students are flying. Being part of the journey as students go from conceptual flight to taking off into the clouds is Miranda's favorite part of the job.