Ben Taylor

Jun 25, 2013   //   by admin   //   Scholarship Recipients  //  No Comments

Junior in Kansas State University Salina’s Professional Pilot program

Wichita, KS

A childhood surrounded by aviation inspired Benjamin Taylor to become a pilot.

“I grew up close to McConnell Air Force Base so I was always watching fighters fly into the base. And my dad worked at Boeing for 27 years, so I was always there for company events and got to know the officers.”

But it wasn’t until he started K-State Salina’s professional pilot program that he had the chance to fly.

“I wanted a school with a ROTC program and the professionalism and experience of the instructors impressed me.”

The ROTC Program drew him in but it was a K-State Salina alum that led him to the reserve squadron in Wichita. Ben plans to join the Air Force Reserves as an officer in the 18th Refueling Squadron after graduation.

Even though he lives in Salina, he remains an active volunteer with the Knights of Columbus at his church in Wichita and also donates blood as often as he can.

Ben’s future plans also include another kind of donating, giving back to the Burton Aviation Foundation.

“The financial need is always looming in the background and being a Burton Scholar helps take that pressure off so I can focus on studying and flying. I hope to be able to give other students that same kind of help in the future.”

Ben doesn’t take the summer off. Instead he spends those months working, taking classes, and flying. But that doesn’t mean he doesn’t get to have fun.

“Last summer I took my dad and my friend flying. I picked them up at Jabara Airport in Wichita and we flew to Ponca City, Okla., at night. It was the first time my dad had ever flown with me. And when we landed back in Wichita, my friend told me it was the first time he had ever been in a plane. It was really great to share that with both of them at the same time.”

“Flying is such a rewarding experience but it’s also humbling. The more I learn the less I seem to know.”

One opportunity to learn came from Cirrus training through the Foundation.

“I loved everything about that plane. The glass cockpit, the sidestick instead of the yoke, the turbo engine. It even has its own parachute.”

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