Kala Loehrer, Milbank High School graduate and daughter of Shelly and Dan Loehrer, has earned her commercial pilot certification – also known as a license- and instrument rating at the University of North Dakota. Kala had obtained her private pilot certification, the precursor to a commercial certification, while she lived in Milbank and attended MHS.
Kala’s commercial certification means she can fly and be paid for her services. Under each pilot license is a list of subcategories termed ratings. Kala’s instrument rating means she can fly at night and in less than perfect weather by using instruments.
“A commercial pilot, however, is slightly different from an ATP (Airline Transport Pilot), which is the certification you need to fly for an airline,” Kala says. “So that certification will come later on.”
Next semester, Kala takes the multi-engine flight course. She says, “I will be flying a Piper Seminole, as opposed to the Cessna 172 and Piper Archer that I have been flying. This plane is a lot more complex with two engines, retractable landing gear, has a higher gross weight, a constant speed propeller, and is capable of faster air speeds.” The Piper Seminole’s top speed is 202 knots versus the top speed of the Cessna at 163 knots. (A knot is equivalent to 1.15 miles per hour.) “After that course, I will have my multi-engine rating,” she says.
Next summer, Kala takes a flight instructor course to earn a CFII or Certified Flight Instructor with an Instrument rating. “After that, I will be instructing other students while I finish up my classes to graduate and attain my 1,000 hours needed to be hired by the airline of my choice,” she says.
Kala plans to graduate with a Bachelor of Science degree in Aeronautics in 2019. She says, “Starting out, I will need to go to a smaller airline (called a regional) to get some experience flying jets and getting used to airline operations. I want to be based in Minneapolis, but do not have an exact airline picked out. The industry is changing so fast that my decision will probably come closer to the completion of my flight training.”