(WARRENSBURG, Mo.) – When Kyle Samford isn’t fueling airplanes at Skyhaven Airport, practicing aircraft recognition for Flight Team, or attending conferences for the Missouri Airport Managers Association, he likes to spend his time off the ground.
Samford is a senior aviation management major who received his private pilot license in 2015 with 50 hours of flight time. As the average pilot typically receives their private license between 60 and 70, Samford was a fast learner and excelled with his lessons.
Samford has now spent 80 hours in the sky.
“I would say the views are my favorite thing about flying, you get to see things from a different perspective,” Samford said. “It is something that you realize that not everybody gets to do.”
Not only is Samford a pilot, but he is also vice president of MAMA and AAAE.
“Both organizations are similar, but they are not the same,” Samford said. “MAMA is within Missouri, and AAAE is within the United States. Both deal with aviation management, our main goal is to build connections and possibly get future employment.”
MAMA and AAAE host multiple conferences each year.
“There is a national conference for AAAE and this previous year, it was held in Long Beach, California,” Samford said. “A group of eight of us went to California and we learned more about aviation in general, especially with airports, that’s one of the emphasis’ of AAAE and MAMA.”
Samford also is involved with Flight Team, an organization where pilots can practice and sharpen their aeronautical skills.
Samford competes in an aircraft recognition competition and power-on landings competition for Flight Team.
“For aircraft recognition, you have to say the make of the plane, model, and a nickname if there is one,” Samford said. “For landing competitions, there is a chalked box on the runway and the middle line in the box is your aiming point. It’s like golf, you want to get the least amount of points and landing on it gets you the least.”
He said not only does landing matter, but also your traffic pattern, how you fly it, and what exactly you do during the flight.
Samford has worked at AirVenture for the past two summers as a camp counselor for the Air Academy. It is held at the Wittman Regional Airport at Oshkosh, Wisconsin.
EAA AirVenture Oshkosh is an annual event for people with a passion for aviation.
“The campers were from 12 to 18 years old. I taught air compress rockets, space history, metal sheet working and engines.” Samford said.