Andre Johnson


Photo courtesy of Andre Johnson.

Huy Huynh, Multimedia Editor

This previously ran in our April 2022 print issue.

Andre Johnson’s passion for aviation took off in middle school, as he spent his time on YouTube watching pilot videos, dreaming of becoming a commercial airline pilot. 

As a 12-year-old boy in middle school, the EHS senior explored the world of aviation from his own home through these videos, seeing flight simulators from the pilot’s seat. Visiting airports and having the chance to see these planes in person also expanded his love for aviation, as Johnson could see the ins and outs of how the airport functioned.

“I watched simulation videos when I was 12 on Youtube, but this person named Squirrel… he was just flying planes on I think Microsoft Flight Simulator, and I just found it to be really interesting,” Johnson said. “Then I got into simming myself and I was like ‘I think I want to do this as a career.’ Also, I would go to airports, I would always be really interested in everything that was going on.” 

Johnson is set on becoming a pilot, but like many other high school students, he has given some thought to other potential careers. For him, that alternative option was becoming a car mechanic. 

“At one point I was interested in being a car mechanic, but then I thought a pilot would be a better choice,” Johnson said. “I say if I do [become a car mechanic] that would be more of a hobby because the actual job I found is very labor-intensive, so I don’t think it would be a good choice for a year.” 

Cultivating an interest in pilotry as a possible career did not come without its fair share of roadblocks for Johnson. When presenting his parents with the idea of being a commercial pilot, they expressed concern for his safety due to the nature of the career. They initially tried to turn Johnson’s interests toward more of a research-based job, such as one at NASA, but it was not exactly in line with what Johnson wanted to do. Since then, his parents have offered him support for his dreams while still holding on to a bit of fear.

“For the most part, yes, [they support my decision,] but they’re still kind of like ‘ehhhh,’” Johnson said. 

Along with his parents, Johnson also has a few concerns himself — specifically with requirements to become and remain a commercial pilot. 

“Your health has to be optimal in order to be able to fly,” Johnson said. “So I’m gonna have to be really careful, so that I don’t, like, get diseases so I can keep the job.” 

Finishing up his high school journey this year, Johnson plans on fulfilling his long-standing dream of becoming a pilot by first attending Lehigh Carbon Community College (LCCC) and completing its aviation program. As of right now, he has clocked some flight time on the simulator and received his medical certification, allowing him to begin learning to fly. Johnson hopes that classes will be able to take him further. The aviation program allows Johnson to use simulators himself, work toward a pilot’s license, and learn hands-on at Lehigh Valley International Airport. 

After LCCC, he has hopes of attending Purdue University and getting a bach- elor’s degree in aviation, the final step to earning his wings and becoming a fully-fledged commercial airline pilot.