The Double M Foundation Supports Internships for Promising Young Technicians
Matthew Diem of Plant City, Florida, spends most of his time working toward a career in aviation.
As a junior at Central Florida Aerospace Academy, Matthew studies aviation and engineering during the school day. After school, he heads to the Lakeland Aero Club to put his knowledge into practice working on airplanes.
The future is bright for this passionate young man, who is using his internship to get a head start on a career in aviation.
Matthew had his first aviation experience at the age of 10, when his parents took him to an event where he got to fly in a small airplane.
When Matthew was in the eighth grade, he heard about the Lakeland Aero Club and toured their facility.
“I was amazed,” he said. “I couldn’t believe my eyes that high schoolers could come over here and work on airplanes.”
Matthew was hooked. He applied to Central Florida Aerospace Academy and was accepted.
“It just kept on sparking and sparking,” he says.
A Head Start Down a Challenging Path
As an intern at the Lakeland Aero Club, Matthew expects to have a head start on his career when he graduates high school. He already has his private pilot’s license, and he’s working toward a commercial license and toward becoming a certified aviation maintenance technician (AMT).
It’s not an easy path, of course. AMT certification requires an applicant to work for 30 months under a certificated technician before testing.
When asked about the biggest obstacles in pursuing a career in aviation, Matthew cites two major challenges: time and cost.
“I’ve had friends inviting me: ‘Do you want to do something on Friday night?’ Unfortunately, you have to say no because you have to put the time into it. And also the cost. It is not a cheap hobby.”
He notes that his paid internship, which is supported by funds from the Double M Foundation, allows him to earn income while gaining the experience required for his AMT certification. That opportunity, he says, is helpful to him and to his parents.
If he were to go to a local school for licensure, Matthew might spend close to $60,000. But at Lakeland Aero Club, he gets experience that he doesn’t have to pay for. He’s also earning money, so he doesn’t have to spend his afterschool hours working elsewhere.
He’s spent close to 200 hours working in the field during his junior year. “I used to work at Publix,” Matthew notes, “but now I have the opportunity to come here and get income, so I don’t have to work at Publix and take time away from aviation.”
A Brilliant Future
Matthew’s hard work and experience have brought him far, and he’s very aware of how his education has shaped him.
The most important lesson? “I’ve learned not to give up,” he says. “A lot of people do give up. Some don’t have the push to get it done. All of my instructors say, ‘keep on going, keep on going, don’t stop.’ You need to have someone behind you to get through it, because it’s not an easy field to get through.”
Those life lessons come from experiences like flying, making repairs, helping with competitions, and, of course, building airplanes.
“I like to build from the ground up, so I can see airplanes go from nothing to something. I like to really see it come to life. That’s my favorite thing to see…How everything works. How the physics work. How the motor works. How the airplane reacts. How it all goes together and everybody is in relationship with each other,” Matthew says.
After graduating, Matthew plans to work in the industry. He’d love to work with a major airline, but he says his dream job would be working with the hurricane hunters at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
When asked about his best advice for younger students, Matthew reemphasizes his own most valuable lesson: “I would tell them just follow their dreams, don’t give up. A lot of people do give up. Don’t. Get the push. Get somebody to push you through.”
Double M Aviation would like to thank our supporters for their donations to The Double M Foundation, which has contributed $12,700 to the Lakeland Aero Club. These donations make critical programs like the club’s paid internships possible, securing the future of aviation and providing a strong foundation for tomorrow’s aviation professionals.