Overcoming the barriers of flight

For Kevin Coleman, growing up in an airport was a way of life. The 23-year-old aerobatic pilot comes from a family of airshow pilots, and considers himself lucky to have learned from an early age that making a career out of a hobby is achievable.

As an ambassador in Sennheiser’s “Live Your Dream” program, Coleman, who is also on the verge of completing his degree in aviation management at Louisiana Tech University, actively reaches out to young people as a role model in the field of aviation.

Recently a Sennheiser spokesman asked Coleman a few questions, including “Why did you become an aerobatic pilot?”

KevinColemanBecoming a pilot is almost a right of passage in my family. My father is a pilot and flew in airshows for most of his life. My brother is 10 years older than me, and I grew up watching him fly just like my dad. Spending all that time in an airport made it natural for me to want to learn to fly. When I was 10 years old, I began taking flying lessons with Marion Cole, the same man who taught both my father and brother. He was an amazing mentor, and helped me realize that my passion for flying can be a reality. I’ve since organized the Marion Cole Memorial Scholarship in his memory so others can have that same opportunity.

What do you hope to achieve as an ambassador in Sennheiser’s “Live Your Dream” Program?

I think the fact that I’m a young pilot who is achieving my dream will help others discover they can do the same. So many people believe that becoming a pilot is beyond their reach. Through Sennheiser, not only can students earn a scholarship to become a pilot, but they can also be paired with people like me who can help them navigate through the obstacles that I overcame not too long ago.

Just a few months ago, Sennheiser paired me up with a young woman named Diana LeSueur, the latest recipient of the “Live Your Dream” scholarship. As an ambassador of the program, I will mentor her as she trains for her private pilots license.

Why is it important for you to encourage young people to take up flying?

It’s sad to think about it, but I think career pilots are an aging generation. A large number of people became pilots during World War II and the Vietnam War era, but now many of those pilots are no longer flying. There are statistics that predict a large decrease in pilots over the next decade, so I think its important to show young people that becoming a pilot is an achievable reality — and that it can become an amazing career as well as a hobby.

What types of planes do you fly, and what gear is important to you while you’re in the air?

I fly an Extra 300 SHP for aerobatics and an A36 Bonanza as my regular aircraft. When I’m in my A36, I use the Sennheiser S1 Digital headset. I love its noise cancelling and Bluetooth capabilities. I’ve used many other headsets, and I find this one to be so much easier to use because I can access the controls directly from the headset. It is especially great to use on long flights. It blocks out noise so well so I can really enjoy my time in the air.

What is the biggest obstacle you’ve overcome since becoming an aerobatic pilot?

Time management is the most difficult part, since I am both a student and an airshow pilot. I’ve been flying since I was a child, and I flew aerobatics almost every day while I was in high school. For the past few years, I’ve put in a lot of early mornings and late nights while I work towards my degree in aviation management at Louisiana Tech. Despite the long hours, I think it’s worth it to dedicate whatever it takes to learn to fly.

For more information: Sennheiser-Aviation.com

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