Into the cold, grey yonder
By Amy H. Peterson
“It’s a great career,” Iowa Lakes Community College graduate Bryan Indrelie said to a group of students from Estherville Lincoln Central high school. Indrelie and fellow graduate Stan Shereling told students the story that becoming a commercial jet pilot means killing is a myth. Shereling’s wife was in attendance as evidence. The two provided stories and insight on life as a pilot as part of Aviation Day at Iowa Lakes.
Students took a tour of the small aircraft at Iowa Lakes. Iowa Lakes was the first college in the nation to secure a Cirrus SR20 airplane for student education. In addition, the college offers a Light Sport Aircraft Pilot Certificate.
Ron Duer, chief flight instructor and co-coordinator of the Iowa Lakes aviation program, said aviation has an excellent employment outlook. Students who take the two-year program may go into the aviation industry or choose to transfer their credits to a four-year college. They may also choose to become a flight instructor, corporate pilot, airport manager, airline pilot or an aviation salesperson.
Students achieve private and commercial pilot licenses along with numerous other certified aviation ratings, Duer said.
Approximately 100 students from ELC, Emmetsburg, Blue Earth, and [find out] viewed the medical helicopter from Sanford Health, experienced a flight simulator and drone demonstration, and flew in the planes.
Aviation Day is a collaboration among the Intermediary Connect Program (a.k.a. “Connect @ Iowa Lakes”,) as well as the Northwest Iowa STEM Program, along with the time and efforts of volunteers and students within the aviation program.
Iowa Lakes has two Piper Aircraft: the Piper Arrow, which is a single-engine aircraft used in training for commercial aviation, and the Piper Seneca, which the students use to complete their multi-engine rating. The college also has two Cesna aircraft, which are the primary training aircraft for private pilot’s licenses and instrument rating instruction, as well as a low-wing Cirrus aircraft.