Aviation class hosts pilots


Quinn Riordan , Reporter and photographer

Mike Brewer – USAF, Thunderbirds

Mike Mikenas – Southwest Airlines


Former LT students Mike Brewer ‘01, a member of the Air Force and pilot for the Thunderbirds, and Mike Mikenas ‘01, a pilot for Southwest Airlines, visited the Principles of Aeronautical Studies class at NC on Nov. 8. Students sat in the same chairs that Brewer and Mikenas sat in just years before, learning about possible future opportunities. Both shared advice about the industry and their love for their job.

“I love flying, love everything about aviation,” Brewer said. 

He used his LT aviation experience to propel him into his career, Brewer said. At LT he was able to perform his first solo flight and receive his private license. He went on to use his license to ask  his then-girlfriend out to prom on a flight. Mikenas met Brewer through LT gymnastics, and the two have remained friends, with flying bringing them together. The support from his friends and family helped Brewer pursue his dreams.

“[The] people you surround yourself with now, will be the people who are your support system in the future,” Brewer said. “So surround yourself with like minded people, people who boost you, who take you to the place where you want to be.” 

After high school, Brewer and Mikenas went to college for aviation, Embry-Riddle University and the University of North Dakota respectively, Mikenas said. The they became flight instructors, teaching freshman when they were seniors. Their credits from high school aviation were transferable to college while their previous experience gave them a leg up.

“It was awesome,” Brewer said.“[It] allowed us to experience things about aviation that we never got to experience before.”

The aviation history at LT is long and pilots coming back to speak to classes is common, Brewer said. Whether through the airforce, commercial flying, leisure, or the Thunderbirds, LT has allowed students to learn and explore their dreams of being a pilot. 

“You guys are the future of aviation,” Brewer said. “The future of aviation is this classroom, you have computers in the back of the classroom with simulators. It gives you a massive leg up in the industry.”