ASU aviation grad David Hutchens

Cleared for takeoff

By

Scott Seckel

Editor's note: This is part of a series of profiles for spring 2016 commencement. See the rest here .

David Hutchens is out of here on a wing and a degree.

Graduating with honors from the Arizona State University’s Aviation Programs with a degree in aviation management technology/professional flight, he has his sights set on big jets and faraway places.

As a child, he sometimes traveled with his mother, who works for the Federal Aviation Administration.

“I think I’ll take a job with one of the East Coast airlines and see how I like it,” Hutchens said. “I haven’t spent a lot of time over there. If I don’t like it, I’ll come back West, where I’m from.”

“I’m very grateful for the opportunities that have presented themselves to me, and ASU has played a big part in that,” he said.

Question: What was your “aha” moment, when you realized you wanted to study the field you majored in?

Answer: I worked for a company for six years. It was staying stagnant. Both my parents worked for the FAA so I was raised around aviation. I always liked to travel, so I realized, “Why not make a career out of it?”

Q: What’s something you learned while at ASU — in the classroom or otherwise — that surprised you, that changed your perspective?

A: Probably the amount of work that goes into this.

Q: Why did you choose ASU?

A: I chose ASU because it was close to my family. I knew this was going to be a lot of work, and the flying — you have to do it on your own free time. Having family close by allowed me to decompress and get away from flying for a while and not even talk about it for a couple of weeks.

Q: What’s the best piece of advice you’d give to those still in school?

A: I would say set your priorities early on. Definitely set personal goals, but don’t forget to take time for yourself and have a life. If you get so wrapped up in school, you’ll get burned out and things won’t go the way you’d hoped.

Q: What was your favorite spot on campus, whether for studying, meeting friends or just thinking about life?

A: I would say the airport. The Sim building. They have all the flight sims [simulators] and all that stuff, so it’s a good place to mess around or study.

Q: What are your plans after graduation?

A: I’m actually headed out to the airlines. In late May/early June I’m finishing up interviews with a couple of different airlines, and I’ll choose one that’s right for me. I’m looking forward to the girls and the travel. My old flight instructor went over to Thailand for $40. He paid for the tax on the ticket and that was it.

Q: If someone gave you $40 million to solve one problem on our planet, what would you tackle?

A: The current presidential candidates.

Top photo by Charlie Leight/ASU Now