Passionate dreamer, determined pilot: Craig Fischer

Sarah Lambert, Managing Editor

There are very few people that know what they want to do before leaving high school. Craig Fisher, on the other hand, has known what he has wanted to do since elementary school. From the age of eight, he has watched planes fly out of National from Gravelly Point, and since then, he knew he wanted to be a pilot.  

Student in airplane
Fischer getting ready to fly in Leesburg for flight school. (Photo courtesy of Craig Fischer)

Fischer, a senior at George Mason, has already started taking on more responsibility than most college students. When his parents would no longer pay for his flight school, Fischer got three jobs and worked everyday for five months just to get back into an airplane. For anyone interested in flying, Craig says it takes a lot of time and effort.

“Make sure you are passionate about aviation. It’s a lot of time, studying, and money. But if you are passionate and dedicated, definitely go for it.”

Being a pilot has always been his dream, since childhood, and this passion for aviation has pulled him into some interesting directions.

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Last year, when he was going to visit the airport with a friend, he decided to bring a camera. He didn’t know what to do with the photos he ended up taking, so he just decided to post them on social media. Since then, Fischer has operated an instagram account (@dc.aviation) and has continued to post pictures of airplanes from Reagan National Airport, Dulles International Airport, and other airports all around the country. His following has amassed to almost 8,000 and he has made many connections through his airplane photography, or spotting, as it is commonly referred to.  

Fischer found that when he made his Instagram account and started communicating with aviation communities, his life took a different turn than what must high schoolers’ lives look like.

“You go through high school in a different way, you are not as involved in school but more life outside of school,” he said.

The communities that he got in touch with through his Instagram account have opened the doors and given him the necessary connection for being a commercial pilot. Through his Instagram account, Fischer got in contact with an aviation news media site called Airline Geeks. In Fischer’s own words, it’s “like a scaled down version of the Washington Post for aviation.”

He is a photographer for the site. He takes his own personal pictures and then places them into an online drive for writers to use for their articles.

Student taking a photograph
Fischer using his Canon camera to take a picture. (Photo courtesy of Craig Fischer)

This exposure has given him the opportunity to fly around the world and take pictures, courtesy of airlines. An airline payed for him to fly to Qatar on April 20th. He loves to travel and he enjoys how his two passions are combined in one.

“When I’m a pilot I definitely want to continue spotting, I will be able to fly around a lot more and do more photography,” he revealed.

Although Fischer is pretty adamant about his career as a commercial pilot, he already has a fairly steady career that he enjoys right now. Along with his photography on Airline Geeks, he has been asked to take photos for companies such as Travel Aid and major airlines like American Airlines. They pay him for his photography so they can put the photos on their social media, website, and newsletters.

“When [companies] see people that really are passionate about aviation they try to get their contributions,” Fischer said.

All of this exposure has practically made him a shoo-in to an aeronautical academy. Embry Riddle Aeronautics Academy in Daytona Beach, Florida, accepted him last September, just at the very beginning of his senior year.

Student in front of a plane engine
Fischer pictured in front of a plane engine at Reagan airport. (Photo courtesy of Craig Fischer)

“I knew I would get in because they appreciate when people are really passionate about the industry and are passionate about flying. But I’ve been excited to go ever since I got in,” he said.

I heard Fischer say the same variation of that sentence throughout the interview. When he spoke about companies, colleges, and advice for those interested in flying, he always mentioned that you will have success if you are truly passionate about it.

It may be absurd for someone to know what they want to do from so young, but the passion Fischer has for aeronautics is undeniable, and he said it himself.

“If you are passionate, go for it.”