Quinn Dooley – Flying to New Heights


“You don’t have time to think up there. If you think you’re dead” – Pete ‘Maverick’ Mitchell

Just like Maverick from Top Gun, Senior Quinn Dooley is also a pilot. Although he’s not fighting in wars, Dooley is still blowing expectations and doing something not much of his peers have done.

It all started through the Cherry Creek Innovation Campus (CCIC), a CCSD program where students can acquire skills that prepare them for a job directly after high school, including flying.

“At CCIC, you learn basically the fundamentals of all aspects of what you need to know for flying,” Dooley said. “You get into how to fly to different places, how to talk on the radios, as well as analyzing maps and analyzing the weather.”

Afterwards, Dooley started at Aspen Flight School to extend his knowledge and actually begin flying. 

“When I started taking lessons at Aspen, that’s when I started to apply my knowledge and then start getting flight hours and actually gaining experience in a plane,” Dooley said.

With Dooley now getting behind the wheel and actually flying, the experience was a lot more different than he expected.

“It’s a lot different from going on a plane at DIA because there’s a lot more feeling to it,” Dooley said. “When you’re actually flying, you feel obviously a lot more in control and there’s just a lot more experience to it.”

Now, Dooley is trying to apply his knowledge in the real world by working at the Wings Over the Rockies.

“I’m a part time worker so they’ve given me a couple more opportunities, like running the simulators, helping maintain the planes, marshaling the planes that come in, and helping to tug planes around the ramp,” Dooley said.

The facility houses several historic and iconic aircraft, several of which Dooley has gotten the opportunity to fly. 

“’I’ve gotten rides in a bunch of planes like World War II planes and a Alaskan bush plane,” Dooley said.

Although this work experience has been worthwhile in extending his knowledge about planes, it also has given him more to think about in his search for the best flight school after high school as he knows what to look for.

“[I’ve] had a lot more opportunities that made my endeavors for college a lot more specific,” Dooley said. “I need to have this in my school and all this stuff for aviation and just give myself the best opportunities I can.”

Dooley plans to attend Embry–Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona, Florida. There he’ll most likely do ROTC and become a fighter pilot in the Air Force. His love for aviation has caused this pursuit and Dooley hopes to become a great pilot.

“It’s fun. It’s cool. You meet a lot of cool people and it’s very thrilling, which is why I do it.”