Mike Carstensen- Ground Instructor
Need to learn weight and balance? You'll never meet someone more qualified than Mike .
The world is full of people who hold mundane jobs in equally unexciting surroundings. Set your personal navigation mode to "path of least resistance" and you're likely heading there yourself. On the other hand, how does someone become a pilot in Hawaii? Mike Carstensen presents an interesting example.
The recipe for finding a delightful job in a beautiful corner of the world often includes a broad view of possibilities out there. Mike grew up with an Air Force father and the family lived and traveled all over the world: Guam, Korea, Thailand, and Vietnam, to name a few stops. Eventually the Carstensens settled momentarily in Nebraska.
Sports are an obsession in Nebraska and Mike discovered he had the talent to make the big time. All was set for four years of football at Michigan State when fate stepped in as an injury which scuttled the football career. Winters are mighty cold in Michigan, and rather than pick up ice on his wings, circling in a holding pattern of uncertainty, Mike instead pointed southwest for his alternate.
Next stop: University of Nevada, Las Vegas, where the young man studied hotel administration. School allowed time for the gym, and Mike pushed enough iron to become a mighty strong guy. It was in the gym where a talent scout approached him with the idea of working in Trilogy, a show similar to Cirque de Soleil where incredible athletes hold other humans in the air to build interesting shapes, all the while trying to make the process look easy. The show wowed the Las Vegas crowds for two years, then moved to Spain for another two years.
There is a very real limit on how long a human can make a living as the cornerstone to a towering pyramid, and Mike pondered his next move during a round of golf with his father at the Hickam course near HNL International. A group of F-15s shot by and in that moment the strong man decided he must fly. Mike lacked the x-ray vision to be accepted by the Air Guard, but he figured there's more than one way to fly and enrolled in a Private Pilot course at Flight School Hawaii. Three months later he achieved his goal, then went on to add instrument and multi-engine ratings. Commercial certificate is likely to be in his pocket by the time you read this page. Mike looks forward to becoming a CFI. In the mean time, he tutors students as a certified ground instructor.
So... if you have a question about weight and balance, go ahead and ask Mike. If you weigh less than 170 lbs and demand an example, watch out, because Mike's response could be a most uplifting experience.