POPLAR GROVE, Ill. (WTVO) — Since she was ten years old, Nadine Didier has been fascinated with aviation.

She joined the Youth Exploring Aviation program at Vintage Wings & Wheels Museum, at 5151 Orth Road.

During her time working on a private pilot license, Nadine earned two scholarships through the museum that helped propel her to her dream career.

Nadine got her private pilot license last year and is working on instrument rating. The next step in her journey is getting a commercial license.

“That means I can be paid to fly,” Nadine explained. “That doesn’t necessarily mean airline. That can just be small charters. That could be flying skydivers. And then, after that I’ll get my instructor [license] and I would love to come out here and teach what I love doing.”

Judi Zangs, executive director at the Poplar Grove Wings and Wheels Museum, sees a dire need to help young people who are interested in the aviation career path.

“Over 50% of the pilots flying right now will be retired in the next ten to fifteen years and we don’t have that many people coming into that industry,” Zangs said.

For Nadine, there’s no better industry and no place she’d rather be than at the controls in the cockpit of a plane. She has never lost the childlike wonder she had the first time she stepped onto a plane.

“Every time I go up and I look out and it’s amazing, it takes my breath away,” she said.

Scholarship applications are now available with the deadline set on March 31st.


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