It’s Blue Skies Ahead for This HRHS Grad

It’s Blue Skies Ahead for This HRHS Grad
Posted on 01/26/2023

It’s Blue Skies ahead for Highlands Ranch High School Grad who is studying Aviation, earned her pilot's license, and will finish College a year early

Annie Johanning flying her plane

Annie Johanning knew as a teenager that she wanted to become a pilot. She enrolled in one of the early aviation classes offered at Highlands Ranch High School (HRHS). After graduating from HRHS in 2020, Annie attended Montana State University but soon realized that the school didn't offer the flight program she initially wanted. In the spring of 2021, she transferred to Metropolitan State University of Denver and is majoring in Aviation and Aerospace Science with a concentration in the Air Traffic Control College Training Initiative. 

At MSU Denver, Annie is immersed in her field of study and joined as many organizations as possible. “I’m currently the membership and design chair of MSU Denver's Women in Aviation chapter and the historian for Alpha Eta Rho, a professional aviation sorority/fraternity. My fellow officers and I have been constructing Alpha Eta Rho from the ground up, as this is its first year back at MSU Denver after being discontinued about a decade ago. Outside of the university, I have become a member of Women in Aviation International and Women in Aviation's Mile High chapter. I’ve also been accepted as a cadet into SkyWest Airline's Pilot Path

ways Program,” says Annie.  

Annie with her plane One of Annie’s proudest accomplishments is earning her private pilot license in March 2021. Annie is quick to credit Mr. Verbsky, who formerly taught math and an aviation course at HRHS for introducing her to a scholarship through Wings Over the Rockies and encouraging her to apply. “The scholarship helped me complete my private pilot license and jump-started my flying. I’m not sure when my flying career would have started if I didn’t receive that scholarship thanks to him!” she added. “This past July, I bought a 1/12 share in a Cessna 182 Skylane; she's become, my baby!” Annie is also proud to graduate a year early with a 3.97 GPA.

Reflecting on her high school years, Annie enjoyed athletics at HRHS. She says one positive memory from high school was hanging out with her friends at track meets in between events. Taking in the sun and cheering on her teammates on a warm spring day was so much fun. “During high school, I discovered my ability to push myself harder and farther than I thought was possible. My track and field and basketball coaches always encouraged me to push harder than I thought I could, both physically and mentally. My coaches made me the strongest version of myself, and this unique trait is something I've been able to apply in many aspects of my life from aviation, academics, and also personally,” she says.

Annie Johanning at the air control tower runwayAnnie has some lofty goals. “I’m currently trying to master everything about my new airplane, a Cessna 182. The 182 is an extremely different airplane from what I learned to fly in. I completed roughly my first 110 hours of flight time in a Grumman Cheetah with some time in a Piper Archer and Cessna 172. I want to master landings, using the autopilot, the different systems and avionics, and how to manage a high-performance aircraft with a constant speed propeller,” she says.

After graduating this spring, Annie plans to intern in the aviation industry and begin her instrument rating in the fall. Farther down the road, she plans on flight instructing or flying for a part 135 company, which hires pilots with low hours. When she reaches 1500 hours, she wants to fly for SkyWest and then a major airline such as United. Looks like her runway is clear for takeoff!

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