Kaye Varney, a PUC student from 1998 to 2002 and flight enthusiast since childhood, has pursued her dream job as a flight instructor since 2003. She joined the PUC faculty in 2009 and has called the PUC airport “home” ever since. Her interest in aviation began at an early age, but she did not consider it as a career until after high school. Her favorite flights are usually cross-country or night flights, but one of her favorite aspects of her current job is the opportunity to fly with students. “It’s rewarding to see their enthusiasm for flying and to help them reach their goal of becoming a pilot,” she said.
One would think that the life of an aviator would be adventure enough, but when Varney is out from behind the controls of the plane, she loves to continue the excitement through a life of travel. She boards the plane as a passenger when she travels to to faraway places—the most exotic of which, she says, were the fascinating Peruvian landmarks Macchu Picchu and Cuzco Valley.
One of her most memorable adventures comes from her time growing up in Southern Oregon. “My family would always go camping for a couple of weeks each summer,” she said. “One summer we went rock hunting in Eastern Oregon. We found petrified wood, red and black obsidian, thunder eggs, and sun stones.” Although the rare rocks were extraordinary, Varney mostly remembers the trip because of the multiple flat tires her family had to deal with. “By the end of the trip we had replaced all four tires on the car and one tire on the trailer,” she reminisced.
It sounds like a packed schedule—not only does she teach PUC’s nascent aviators, Varney also appreciates a good book (a form of mind-travel), when she’s not busy camping, hiking, mountain biking, winging her way to a distant country, or, of course, flying high on her own.