Trevor E. Laue, 20, was unsure what he wanted to do upon graduating from Mashpee High School in 2012, until a trip to Talkeetna, Alaska, with his father inspired him to fly—professionally, that is.
“I got in my old conversion van and went on a road trip and drove all the way to Alaska,” Mr. Laue said.
The five-week journey led him to an unexpected opportunity to accompany a bush pilot on a flight delivering windows, where he said he “saw a whole different way of life.”
“They have no cars, there’s no way to get out there in the summer. You have snowmobiles in the winter to get across the lakes, but other than that, it’s planes,” Mr. Laue said. “That’s where I kind of got hooked on it.”
The Mashpee graduate took a seat in the cockpit and flew for the first time the following day, while staying with a friend of a friend at his home in an airpark in Anchorage, Alaska.
“They have their garage in the back of their house, where they keep their airplane, and from there, they take it to the runway and take off,” Mr. Laue said. “It was a lot of fun.”
Immediately upon returning home, Mr. Laue dove into research, watching a 10-hour instructional YouTube video on flying and talking to experienced pilots at Falmouth Airpark about their careers. They confirmed a harsh reality: that if he wanted to fly, he would need another job to support his dream job. Mr. Laue was unfazed as he continued to pursue his goal of becoming a pilot.
On May 27, he obtained a commercial pilot’s license, which includes multi-engine planes, after over a year and a half of training in Plymouth. This winter Mr. Laue will begin flying a multi-engine plane from Chatham Municipal Airport to conduct right whale and seal surveys for New England Specialized Aviation Services, Inc., in addition to his current jobs of working at the front desk and as a mechanic for the airport.
Mr. Laue has no plans to work for a major airline soon. For now, he said, he is content with his current job.
His family is “totally supportive,” he said, laughing as he described his mother as “the typical nervous mother.”
“My dad loves it . . . He’s happy to see that I’m actively learning as I’m working,” he added.
The only obstacle that Mr. Laue faced throughout his training involved finances, he said, as he had to pay for the classes himself—one of the main reasons why he did not attend college, despite pressure from his high school teachers and peers. Throughout high school, he was known for his success as a scholar, athlete, and musician.
But Mr. Laue discovered that he did not need to attend a four-year college or university to be successful outside of school.
“You don’t need to go to college to do what you like,” he said. “Follow a path you want to follow.”