De Soto’s Trahan flying high in Salina
If you look outside your window on a clear summer day and hear the sound of a plane zipping through the air, it just might be pilot-in-training Keith Trahan of De Soto flying through your hometown.
Trahan, a sophomore at Kansas State University-Salina's Aviation Science program, recently received his private pilot license which will allow him to fly small planes on his own.
"Since I was little I wanted to take flying lessons," Trahan said. "I like being able to go to different places and I just like being up there,"
Trahan became interested in aviation through his late uncle, private pilot Douglas Trahan of Coffeyville. Originally, the 2000 De Soto High School graduate chose to attend KSU-Salina because he wanted to pursue a career in Air Traffic Control. Once he had the opportunity to fly an airplane, Trahan's plans for the future changed to piloting.
Trahan said that flying was very challenging when he first started out in the program at KSU-Salina.
"The first time that you go up there they ask you to do stuff that they know you don't know how to do," Trahan said. "It takes practice and confidence in order to succeed."
With the completion of his private license requirements, Trahan has his eye on the instrument rating, which he plans on receiving during the upcoming school year. The instrument rating allows a pilot to fly through the clouds and the commercial license, which Trahan expects to receive by the end of his sophomore year, will let the young pilot charge passengers a fee for his flying services.
In addition to the hours of flying experience, Trahan and the other KSU-Salina students must pass a written test and an FAA test to gain each license. Trahan said he has been pleased with the school's aviation program.. During the past semester, Trahan also became involved with the student government at KSU-Salina.
"I like that it is a small school with class size no more than 35," Trahan said. " They teach you everything you need to know to get your license."
Someday, Trahan would like to fly to different countries with a major airline. With those goals in view, Trahan has his feet on the ground this summer as he saves money to fly during the next school year. He is currently working as a cashier at the Apple Market in De Soto.
"Hopefully I will be flying for a company and getting some experience and hours," Trahan said. "My ultimate goal is to work my way up to the airlines."