Grace Assan (South Africa)

Grace Assan is from Durban, South Africa. She is a student pilot receiving instruction at KVPZ, Porter County Regional Airport, Valparaiso, Indiana.

I have loved flying ever since I was in high school but my parents could never afford to pay for my studies. I created an investment fund to save up for my training and I am now in the US to make my dream come true. I’m currently staying in Indiana and attending a flight school and working on my private license. I have been applying to various places for scholarships because the investment can only take me so far. I am open to advice that will shape my career in aviation. My goal is to become a commercial pilot in the next 10 years.  I would like to have experience on tailwheel planes as well.

Grace submitted the above in her registration for membership in LadiesLoveTaildraggers. Excellent, but I had so many questions about our newest member! At my request Grace shared more about herself and her dream to fly. I believe you’ll be as impressed as I am.

I am the 6th out of 10 children. My family is from Congo, I was born in Kenya and I grew up in South Africa (For simplicity, whilst I am in America, I am South African). I was not able to join the South African Defense Force because I am not a South African citizen. My dad is a pastor therefore he doesn’t earn a monthly pay check to pay for my tuition. However, we are able to get the necessities. I completed high school in 2008 and I started working immediately. I only completed a semester at university due to financial constraints. I continued to work full time to pay off the debt I accumulated at the university, to support my family and start saving for my flight training. I mostly spent time with my younger siblings (ages 16, 14 and 12) and nieces (ages 6 and 5 months) back home. They know why I left but don’t really understand the reason. Since I no longer work, I can’t help them with the things I used to. Everyone has been supportive of my decision and believe that coming to America will be the stepping stone to my career in aviation.

Was there something specific that sparked your interest in flying?

I was intrigued with the ability to fly and how we as humans can stay in the sky with machinery. The art of flying and science together still amazes me and makes learning more interesting.

Did you earn money to create the investment fund for your training or was it gifted?

I was awarded a learnership in 2010 and begun a career in IT. This allowed me to earn a better living to support my family and contribute to my investments. I had a 2 year investment which I used to buy a car cash to go to and from work and the 5 year investment I used to pay a deposit at school to start training and buy a plane ticket to America.

What is the name of the flight school you attend in Valparaiso and how long does the program last?

The name of the flight school is Eagle Aircraft. I’m currently taking the part 141 private license cessna syllabus. The program does not have a time frame, it’s all dependent on the progress of the student. I go through the theory on my own and ask the instructor for assistance if I have any questions. I’m trying to maximize my time in the air rather than ground school.

Is there anything else you would like to share with our LadiesLoveTaildraggers group?

I have believed in this dream since I was 15 years old and I am now 26. I sometimes feel that I am too old and I am running out of time to become a pilot. I left everything to make this possible. My mind is jammed with questions I can not answer. The possibilities of not finding a sponsor or scholarship scares me. Through all that, I still get up every day put a smile on my face and go for training. Take my books out and study because I don’t see myself doing anything else.

Thank you for taking the time to respond and taking an interest in my dream. Grace.
I would love to see Grace achieve her goal.  Please post comments and suggestions that will support and encourage Grace!