Lauren Cohen: A Pilot and Teacher at Heart

lauren cohen pilot
Lauren Cohen caught the flying bug while attending high school in Reston, Virginia, a suburb of Washington, D.C. With her parents’ support, she earned her private pilot certificate in just four months, and today, at the age of 20, is working as a flight instructor at ATP’s Tampa, Florida, training center.Lauren Cohen

Lauren Cohen caught the flying bug while attending high school in Reston, Virginia, a suburb of Washington, D.C. “My high school was very focused on getting into college and having a career plan,” she says. “I did a project on the pilot shortage and started considering aviation. When I got the idea in my head, I couldn’t shake it and just knew I would make it happen.”

Nobody in her family is a pilot, but Lauren, who is now 20, knew she didn’t want a career that would involve sitting in an office all day. “My parents kind of expect the unexpected from me. I tend to come up with some crazy ideas, and they’re usually pretty supportive.” So when she told them she wanted to be a pilot, they signed her up for a discovery flight and sent her to the Civil Air Patrol’s National Flight Academy the summer before her senior year. She earned her private pilot certificate in just four months at Aviation Adventures in Leesburg, Virginia. Learning to fly in and around the Washington, D.C., Special Flight Rules Area (SFRA) “really helped me, but also made me really cautious,” she says. “Every single time we went up, even just doing pattern work, we had to file a flight plan and call Potomac Approach. It was a good learning experience, but kind of overwhelming.”

lauren cohen pilot
“Everyone who has been involved in aviation for a while knows how influential an instructor can be on a student pilot,” Lauren says. “I enjoy being that person for students and strive to teach them how to be safe, competent pilots.”Lauren Cohen

Lauren enrolled at ATP’s Tampa, Florida, training center in June 2017, and by December had earned her multiengine instructor and instrument instructor certificates. She currently works there as a flight instructor while finishing her bachelor’s degree in elementary education.

“My greatest challenge learning to fly was confidence,” she says. “I grew up driving boats and any vehicle I could get my hands on, so I didn’t struggle as much with the skill. It was more of trusting that me, a 19-year-old girl, could fly a multiengine Piper Seminole by myself, and that if anything happened I would be able to handle it safely.”

lauren cohen pilot
Lauren enjoys teaching and is also studying to complete her bachelor’s degree in elementary education.Lauren Cohen

Lauren says the most difficult part of being an instructor is accepting her own faults. “We all make mistakes and have bad landings sometimes,” she says. “Being a flight instructor is being a mentor, role model, teacher, friend, confidence booster, and coach to students as they pursue their passion in aviation. Everyone who has been involved in aviation for a while knows how influential an instructor can be on a student pilot. I enjoy being that person for students and strive to teach them how to be safe, competent pilots.”