by: CONTRIBUTED PHOTO - Bethanie Wiles plans to become a missionary pilot.Estacada High School senior Bethanie Wiles has been awarded a scholarship to attend an Experimental Aircraft Association Air Academy camp in Oshkosh, Wis., this summer.

Wiles grew up with planes in the back of her mind.

When she was 9, Wiles took a flight in a small plane with an EAA pilot as part of the association’s Young Eagle’s program in Astoria.

The ride was “thrilling,” but as the years wore on, Wiles’ interest in flying died down a bit since “it’s not as interesting in a commercial flight.”

That all changed when Wiles took another Young Eagles flight with local EAA member Dick Scott this August.

Not content to ride along as a passenger, Wiles flew the plane herself for about 40 minutes and again in a subsequent flight.

Scott said he only had to help out now and then as Wiles’ height made it difficult for her to reach the rudder pedals.

“It’s a feeling you can’t get anywhere else. It’s absolutely thrilling,” Wiles said of flying.

Her interest renewed, Wiles got an internship with an aircraft repair shop.

Wiles is excited to attend Air Academy this summer.

“I’m really looking forward to being in an environment (with) a group of people that have this common love of flying,” she said.

And her flight plans don’t stop there.

Wiles wants to become a missionary airline pilot.

The job would entail flying supplies and people to remote places.

“It’s something that I would really, really like to do with my life,” Wiles said.

Wiles is thinking ahead of how to secure her dream job.

She will have to get a degree in theology along with her pilots’ rating and her Aircraft & Powerplant license, which certifies that she has the skills necessary to repair her own plane.

All and all, Wiles said it will take about five years to obtain all of the necessary degrees to become a missionary airline pilot.

She has identified schools that have the programs she needs.

The biggest hurdle, Wiles said, will be getting all of the flight hours necessary to obtain a license.

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