Amy Rose, 21, is finishing up her last semester at George Mason University, where she is majoring in geospatial intelligence. Rose is a pilot and speaks five languages. She also has two minors, aviation flight training and management, and systems engineering and operations research.
Did you always want to be a pilot?
[Everyone else in my program says] ‘Since I was five, I loved model airplanes.’ But I it never clicked with me until high school.
Most of my family lives overseas, so we flew a lot commercially. And then I realized, like, that’s something I’d be interested in, found out that Mason has an aviation program, so I enrolled in that.
You’re very young for a pilot.
The legal minimum to get your license is 17, and I got mine when I was 19. I have a private pilot’s license with an instrument rating. That means you can find the clouds, like without looking around you, so it’s like flying blind.
I’m almost done with my commercial license, I should have that pretty soon. And then I’ll be able to actually have a job … as a pilot.
Do you want to do commercial flying?
I’d like to start off like commercial flying. Well, there’s a lot of kind of flying I’d like to do. It’s all really cool. But yeah I’ll start in the airlines, I hope, and go international and get all those really nice destinations. But my ultimate goal, which would be cool would be to fly like the storm chasers for NASA or NOAA. That’s sort of what I’m studying.
What are some places you would like to fly to?
I have piloted in the U.S., Canada and France. I hope to add more to that list. I’d like to fly in the Arctic. In colder temperatures, it’s better for flying because the air is a bit denser. And just in the pictures, everything looks so clear — the stark contrast, like the dark blue of the water and the white of the iceberg. I imagine there’s some pretty cool wildlife you can see.
Most of [my family] are in Israel. I always associated flying with a good time because I was going to see my family. That’d be cool to fly there as well.
How does it feel to be in the air as the pilot rather than the passenger?
It’s so different. I know people who actually get sick as passengers. But once they become pilots, they don’t get sick anymore. It’s just knowing that you know, to an extent, you can do pretty much anything you want to do. Yeah, it’s just insane.
I’ve been flying for two years now, and still, it’ll be like, a Tuesday morning and I’ll go flying … and it’s just like, ‘There are people at work right now and I get to be up in the air.’ Yeah, it hasn’t worn off.
Do you feel like a bird?
So gliders, it’s like an airplane, but there’s no engine and the wings are a lot longer. I don’t know what it’s like to be a bird, but that’s what I think it’s like, because in an airplane, it’s vibrating from the engine and it’s really loud in the cockpit. [In a glider you can] just look down and there’s literally nothing beneath you but air. That’s pretty freaky.
So you speak five languages. Tell me about that.
I’m very comfortable — like you could drop me in that country and I’d survive pretty well — in five. So that’s English and Hebrew, which I was raised speaking, and then over the years, I learned Spanish, French and Portuguese.
I think growing up bilingually gave me the leg up. In school, I took Spanish and French and I was very fortunate to have native speakers as teachers … and then I realized I really liked it, so I went into self-teaching. That’s how I did most of French actually, and then all of Portuguese.
I studied a bit of Galician and Ladino. I took Chinese [in school] last year.
Is language learning a hobby for you?
An obsessive hobby. Yeah, I really love it. It’s been between languages and flying — I’m trying to do is combine them. That would be ideal. Languages are a lot of fun because always feels like I’m cracking a code.