Parents often encourage their children to follow their dreams. Telling them if they work hard enough they can achieve anything – the sky’s the limit. For one former Cambridge resident, the sky was where she looked to follow her dream.
Hannah Beaufeaux, 19, a Cambridge-Isanti swim team alumna, obtained her pilot’s license this August after completing her license requirements.
Childhood dream takes flight
Mesmerized by the love of flying at an early age, Beaufeaux never lost that sparkle of excitement getting on an airplane and taking off.
“My family has always traveled around, so I’ve always loved that,” she said, “and I’ve always liked airplanes. Every time we would fly as a family, my dad and I would sit next to each other by the window, and he would explain what was going on like, ‘This is the prop on the wing, and this is why that is lifting up.’”
As the years went on and more flights came and went, her interest in flying began to take flight. With the encouragement of her dad on one of their family trips, they asked the captain if he would show them the cockpit and talk about flying.
“One time we were coming back from the Cayman Islands, I think,” Beaufeaux said, “and my dad was like, ‘Let’s go talk to the pilot.’ I wish I had his name, but he kind of inspired me and got me interested even more.”
Lifting off from that inspirational high, Beaufeaux and her family sought out the Anoka County airport so she could experience a flight in a smaller capacity. It was then she knew that she truly loved to fly.
Dream becomes reality
Beaufeaux knew she wanted to become a pilot and needed guidance on where to start. The family reached out to local flight school, Twin Cities Flight Training.
“We talked to Paul, the owner of the flight school,” Beaufeaux said, “and he told us about the process and our options and what other schools were out there.”
Deciding to stay local, she enrolled in the program when she was of age at 17 years old. In the spring of 2017, books in hand and an eagerness to achieve her dream, she began the journey to receiving her pilot’s license.
“So I started off with like 10 different books, and used an online program for school,” Beaufeaux said. “You have a required 40 hours to log to get your license, along with an oral review, a written test, and then you do an hour or two of flight time where you plan your trip – mine was to Grand Forks. You test emergency situations along the way and other things. I had two jobs at the time when I first started off, swimming, and I was going to school – all of these different factors – so it took me longer than it should have.”
Beaufeaux received her pilot’s license on Aug. 8. She is a Visual Flight Rules (VFR)-rated pilot that can fly in a C172S Spyhawk aircraft.
“I have a VFR rating,” she said, “so I can only fly when it is not super cloudy, and you have to be able to see more than 5 miles in front of you, so you figure that out before you go up, and it depends on the wind also.”
Lift off: What’s next
The future is bright, and the skies are clear. Beaufeaux wants to continue her journey up, up and away with furthering her dreams of becoming a commercial pilot.
“Yes, someday I am shooting for IFR (Instrument Flight Rules) next,” she said. “Someday I am hoping this will be a career, like international flights.”
As for now, Beaufeaux is attending St. Catherine University and majoring in Communications. One of her advisors was a flight attendant for 20 years, and she said this degree will be beneficial for Beaufeaux because of the mass amounts of communications that encompass being a pilot.
Beaufeaux achieved her associate’s degree through Anoka-Ramsey Community College while being homeschooled during her high school years, all while maintaining an exemplary swimming career with the Cambridge-Isanti Bluejackets, graduating in 2017.
Being driven to achieve her goals has been something instilled in her by her parents, Brian and Anne Beaufeaux, and they could not be prouder of their daughter.
“I’m just really proud of her,” Anne said. “She has a lot of confidence, and I believe in her. You know you just put your faith in God and say, ‘This is my child, and she’s happy doing what she’s doing.’”