Sidney Due’s interest in aviation started on a plane, of all places.
She was flying to Italy her senior year of high school when she considered it as a potential career path.
Due, a Friend native, will be entering her final year of college at the University of Nebraska-Omaha this August, where she is enrolled in the aviation program.
“I grew up on farm so at first (Omaha) was quite a shock, but there are some great people here,” Due said.
After college, Due hopes to either become a flight instructor at the airport in Council Bluffs, Iowa, and complete the 1,000 flying hours needed to be employed with a regional airline or enter the National Guard.
Serving in the National Guard is a new development for Due, who after meeting with Friend native Elliot Gautreaux at a recent national flight competition, felt inspired.
Gautreaux is currently a flight instructor for the Air Force Academy.
“He’s someone I really look up to,” Due said. “It really showed me that I can do that, too, and that a small town kid can do big things.”
Due received her private pilot license in August 2017 and her instrument rating certification in June 2018. Since then, she has been working on her commercial license.
“You have to fly cross-country on a solo flight and stop in three points,” Due said. “The hardest part is that one of your stops has to cover 250 miles, so I’m thinking about going across Nebraska.”
A commercial license allows a pilot to fly and be compensated for their work.
She typically flies a few hours each week so her skills don’t rust and said that is the only way to fully understand how an aircraft works.
Due also works as an intern at Kiewit in Omaha, where she performs logistics administrative duties like updating company manuals into computer systems.
Working at Kiewit has also offered Due another potential career path of becoming a private pilot.
“It’s really opened my eyes to the smaller business side,” Due said. “(As a corporate pilot) I would be flying around the Kiewit executives.”
Whatever Due’s future career looks like, it’s safe to say that she will take flight in all aspects and use her skills to their very best.