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Spartans of UD - Bo Gatua

By University Relations Staff

Spartans of UD highlights what makes the University of Dubuque special - the people.

Bo Gatua, of Dubuque, Iowa, is a junior flight operations major. He is also a certified flight instructor at UD's Babka Aviation Learning Center.

What inspired you to study flight operations?

"My first time on an airplane was on a Delta Boeing 737 flight out of Denver. I remember going up to the flight deck, getting a pair of plastic wings, and pushing buttons. I really liked the idea of being able to travel and see the world from the skies. From that point forward, I was hooked. I got involved at a young age with Civil Air Patrol where I took control of an aircraft for the first time. When I moved to Dubuque a few years ago I was excited knowing that there is a university here that has a flight program."

What do you enjoy most about aviation?

"Aviation is very rewarding because it is sometimes challenging and there is always something you can continue learning about. What I enjoy most is overcoming challenges and making real-time decisions."

How do you approach teaching students as a certified flight instructor?

"I remember going through some discouraging parts of my flight training, so I encourage my students to maintain a positive learning attitude and trust the process. I do my best to facilitate this by approaching each student with a positive attitude and patience."

What is an important quality to have as a certified flight instructor? Why?

"Integrity, patience, and passion for this industry. I believe these are the most important qualities of a flight instructor. It is a privilege to be able to help people achieve their dreams, therefore CFI's must be genuinely invested in their students' success and strive to mold them into professionals."

The University of Dubuque will hold an Aviation Visit Day and Aviation Career Day on Thursday, October 20, 2022. What advice would you give to a prospective aviation student visiting on that day?

"When you get to the University of Dubuque, surround yourself with those who will make you better and hold you accountable."