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Education & Learning

Eagle Butte teacher earns commercial pilot's license

minute read

Getting a commercial pilot’s license can be a fulltime endeavor, yet Eagle Butte teacher and co-lead of the DR South Alberta Flight Academy managed to achieve this goal last month.

Eagle Butte teacher earns commercial pilot's license
March 20, 2024

Not only is Dana Marshall a co-lead at the Prairie Rose Public Schools (PRPS) DR South Alberta Flight Academy, but she also teaches chemistry, physics and math at Eagle Butte High School, is the local ATA president, a mother, rancher, along with being a volunteer wildland firefighter with the Cypress County Elkwater Fire Station. Since October of 2022, Marshall has also been training for her commercial pilot’s license, which she completed earlier this month.

Marshall explained, “with the commercial, they want the written test passed first and then you do the flight test. You can do the flight test as early as 150 hours and then you just get all the other flight hours in.” She took her flight test in September 2023, which is similar to the private license flight test except the pilot must be more precise in their flying. Marshall has been working towards fulfilling the remaining requirements, mostly flight hours, for the commercial license since passing the flight test.

“I flew all around Alberta, Saskatchewan and went to BC a couple of times. Part of the commercial is a 300 nautical mile flight from your starting point to the destination and there are approved routes you can do. I went to Yorkton, SK and you have to stop twice, at two places that aren’t your destination,” stated Marshall. “It’s all about gaining more experience, getting to more airports, being able to be in different types of airspace, that is what they are trying to teach you by having these certain rules.”

Her two children, the eldest 11 and the youngest 5, flew with her during some the solo hours, a minimum of 100, needed for the commercial license. When they got bored, Marshall would take up PRPS staff or Flight Academy students with her.

“If they want to hang out and go for a trip, all those solo hours get lonely after a while so it’s better to fly with someone,” said Marshall.

For now, Marshall is going to enjoy this accomplishment and relax from being in training. Now that she has her commercial pilot’s license, she can train to become a flight instructor and while she is thinking about it, she isn’t quite ready to jump in just yet.

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