David Hutchens — Outstanding Undergraduate
B.S. in Aeronautical Management Technology
Graduated from Mesquite High School in Gilbert, Arizona
Aeronautical management technology student David Hutchens is no stranger to flying as an avid skydiver, but since joining the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering he’s added a pair of airplane wings with his degree’s professional flight concentration.
After working in an unsatisfying job for six years, Hutchens decided that was no way to live his life and set out on a new path.
“I figured why not pursue something I’d truly enjoy and make a career out of it?” Hutchens says. “I enjoy the freedom behind being a pilot; the first time I soloed an aircraft I think it really put into perspective what I was capable of and what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.”
While studying hard and earning Dean’s List recognition every semester, Hutchens has also worked as a flight instructor at Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport to build up his flight hour requirements.
And it hasn’t been easy getting in his flying time in between other responsibilities.
“It’s been challenging to develop time management skills to balance school, work and flying because the flying portion is all done on your free time between classes and life.”
Hutchens is thankful for the support of ASU organizations on campus that have made networking and building professional relationships easy as well as help from faculty, especially Associate Professor Mary Niemczyk.
“I definitely think Professor Niemczyk helped me grow not only as a student, but also as a professional,” Hutchens says. “She was always available to answer questions, write recommendation letters and provide insight on aviation events. Her positivity really motivated me to get out and experience all facets of the aviation industry.”
The transition from student learning the ropes to instructor of underclassmen to graduate preparing to enter the airline industry has been a life-changing experience.
“The first flight I took with a student as their instructor was pretty eye-opening,” Hutchens says. “Not only is this person entrusting me to return us safely, but also instill in them the worth ethic, tips, tricks and habits that are required to be a pilot. It was a pretty big deal to me to realize all this hard work I have put in is moving me in the right direction.”
After graduation and until drones take over the pilot seat, Hutchens says he’d like to work for a major airline — he already has a few job offers lined up once he meets his minimum flight requirements — and take advantage of all the world travel that comes with being a pilot.