When it comes to what a typical Wharton student would hope to accomplish during his or her time at Penn, Geeta Minocha (W ‘19) exceeds expectations with flying colors...literally.
Over the past few years, Geeta has been deeply involved in several organizations on campus—president of Penn Students Against Human Trafficking, managing editor of the Penn Political Review’s website, you name it. However, she has recently decided to take on a unique new venture: founding the first–ever Penn Aviation Society.
Geeta earned her pilot’s license last summer in her hometown of Ocala, Florida, which she says is a location that is unusually accommodating for first–time flyers. She chalks up the local popularity of aviation to the flatness of Florida’s geography. She says, “When you’re first learning to navigate, it’s a lot easier to do when there’s not a lot obstructing your views.” She also mentions the influential presence of John Travolta, who lives on the outskirts of her neighborhood.
“He doesn’t mingle with us, but he built his own little private airstrip so that’s what sort of popularized aviation in the area for us. I had always wanted to try it,” she says.
Now, Geeta wants to share her passion with others by starting an organization of fellow pilots at Penn. The group is in its early stages of development since getting off the ground in November, but Geeta hopes it will not only offer Penn flyers a community to share their experiences with, but also provide information and opportunities for others to obtain their aviation licenses, as well.
“I personally know a lot of people who have always been into the idea, like learning how to fly a plane...but they don’t know the process,” she says. “The purpose of this is to provide any student that has an interest in aviation with the information, the tools, the community necessary to accomplish whatever their personal goals are.”
Geeta admits that money is a big hindrance for most people who may want to learn the ways of the sky. When taking into account the cost of fuel and that of the instructor’s time, a single lesson can cost upwards of $100. Multiply that by 40—the number of lessons required by the Federal Aviation Association (FAA) to obtain a flying license—and you get a price tag that most college–aged students are not equip to cover. In the future, however, Geeta hopes the Penn Aviation Society will be able to break down some of these financial barriers that are inevitable obstacles for many who may want to learn to fly.
“Obviously we’re not in a position right now to fund everyone’s aviation endeavors,” Geeta admits, “but probably down the line we want to at least expose them to it, provide each person with a flight lesson of some sort. We also want to obtain a flight simulator, so maybe they can at least experience it from the ground, see what the technique is like, that sort of thing.”
If reaching sky–high goals like these is something you’ve always dreamed of, be on the lookout for the Penn Aviation Society's first GBM, coming soon.