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Check Out Ian Rodriguez’s Story

Today we’d like to introduce you to Ian Rodriguez. 

Hi Ian, we’re thrilled to have a chance to learn your story today. So, before we get into specifics, maybe you can briefly walk us through how you got to where you are today?
My first flight was on March 26, 2012, in Columbus, GA. That’s the day that changed my life forever. I never started off wanting to fly. I had a pretty average lifestyle for a soon-to-be 17-year-old. I played sports, video games, and was more focused on schoolwork than going out. I guess one could say I got a nice push from my parents being that I was raised in a military family. My dad was Air Force but he wasn’t a pilot… I guess he would have liked too and maybe he wondered if I would like it. I knew nothing about the aviation world! It would have never crossed my mind as an option, but fortunately, it just took one flight to spark my curiosity for years to come. One flight led to the next and next thing I knew by 18 I was a certified private pilot! Eventually, I realized I wanted to make a career out of it and so I kept following that path, and along the way, I gained a passion for helping people achieve their dreams of also becoming pilots. 

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle-free, but so far would you say the journey has been a fairly smooth road?
Not at all! Time and time again I was my worst enemy. Since I got started at a young age, I didn’t know what I wanted to do. Fly or follow music? This is how I ended up coming to Nashville and attending Belmont University. I put a pause on aviation after I got my first license in 2017. A long pause. One reason was to focus on the transition to a new city, college, and community. I didn’t want any distractions, but honestly, another big reason was I didn’t feel like I was that great of a pilot. Then once I got to Nashville I started a business in the music industry with my roommate at the time, Sam Saideman. That filled up my plate big time! There was no time for anything but school, business, and what little of a social life I had. Towards my senior year I realized “Hey, I have a freakin’ pilots’ license! Why don’t I look more into that?” I got with a CFI to better my weak areas, got more comfortable in the plane, and began training again for the next certificate. There ended my about 3-year dry spell in flying. There were also medical scares, financial stress, and the pressure of building the time to get a job, but these are the natural struggles of getting to this point and almost like an initiation. Many pilots out there understand this and deserve the ratings. 

Thanks – so what else should our readers know about your work and what you’re currently focused on?
I am currently a flight instructor in the Nashville area, and currently in training to be an airline pilot. I am certified in single-engine land and sea airplanes as well as multi-engine land airplanes. I have taught people at beginner, commercial, and instructor levels and have worked with over 100 students since becoming an instructor in 2018 at Nashville International Airport (KBNA). I am most known for my instruction around the area and my Instagram page that I set up in order to help me find more students, network with other pilots around the world, and inspire more people to become pilots. I have also flown to almost all 50 states both for ferry pilot services and for fun. I am most proud of being nominated and awarded as a “2021 Distinguished Flight Instructor.” 

Is there something surprising that you feel even people who know you might not know about?
Most people in the aviation community have no idea that I own a business. I typically keep the two lives compartmentalized but it’s always interesting to see how both the aviation and music industry connect. 

Contact Info:

Image Credits
Collin Nixon
Brittain Clay
Ian Rodriguez

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