Samantha Scharff

Aug 15, 2008   //   by admin   //   Scholarship Recipients  //  No Comments

Scholarship Recipient Date: August 15, 2008

Samantha Scharff has wanted to be a pilot for as long as she can remember. “For my 10th birthday I got to go up with a pilot and play with the controls.” It took her nine years to get in the cockpit again and she has no plans to leave it.

Sam, who is majoring in professional pilot with a minor in aviation safety, comes from a family of nurses. She herself is a CNA (Certified Nursing Assistant) and works part-time on weekends.

“My parents thought wanting to be a pilot was a stage that I would grow out of. Nobody thought I would actually do it,” Sam said. She now has her multi-engine commercial instrument license and is a multi-engine certified flight instructor, has 15 hours of turbine time, and has flown in and out of New York City and Omaha in the King Air.

Sam learned about K-State through her high school guidance counselor and her boss, both who had sons who had completed K-State’s aviation program. Despite being heavily recruited by Embry Riddle, Sam chose K-State for a number of reasons, including affordability, the small campus feel and in-state tuition.

“There’s a lot to like about K-State at Salina, but I think what I like best are the instructors. They keep us motivated and are really good teachers. Second would be the fleet. I was sold when I saw it during my campus visit. It’s diverse, and we have the jet program.”

In addition to working for the university as a CFI (Certified Flight Instructor), Sam is the outreach chair for the K-State Women In Aviation chapter and was one of five students world-wide selected by International Civil Aviation Organization for a summer internship in Montreal, Canada. She spent the summer, 2009 as an intern with American Airlines in Ft. Worth.

Her non-aviation-related activities include Students In Free Enterprise (SIFE) and intramurals. She has taken the reins of Starbase program for the National Guard, creating an accompanying activity book to supplement the one already in use and giving tours. She was a resident assistant for two years and still lives in the residence halls because, “it’s really convenient. All your bills get paid at once so that’s one less thing to worry about. I’m also close to my flight students which is nice if they have questions or need help with something.”

Sam enjoys sharing her passion for flying with her students. “My first take-off was the easiest thing I’ve ever done flying-wise. I was just in awe. I love sharing that same experience with my students,” she said. “The Burton Scholarship helped me earn my CFII (Certified Flight Instrument Instructor) and MECFI (Multi-Engine Certified Flight Instructor) ratings and has helped me build time to achieve my ultimate goal of flying for an airline.”  In the last year, she has also looked into flight dispatching.

Her favorite part of flying: my office window has an amazing view that very few other people will see on a daily basis.

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