Aviation program takes COCC student above and beyond


Nineteen-year-old Keaton Snow goes to class hundreds of feet in the air. Snow, who is in Central Oregon Community College’s aviation program, recently received the 2013 Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association Richard Santori flight training award and appeared at the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association summit in Fort Worth, Texas on Oct. 10-13.

At the conference, Snow had the opportunity to meet the AOPA president, attend several seminars from various aviation experts, and train in two different types of simulators.

Snow preparing the helicopter for flight.  Photos by Rosalinda Corning | The Broadside
Snow preparing the helicopter for flight. Photos by Rosalinda Corning | The Broadside

Snow’s mother recognized his interest for aviation early and began taking him to airports and airshows.


“I have pictures of myself as a one year old with a toy helicopter in my hand,” Snow said. “I’ve just always had the bug.”

Snow’s ultimate goal is to be an Emergency Medical Services helicopter pilot. He’s worked as an Emergency Medical Technician and a firefighter in Summerville, Oregon and wants to pair that experience with his love of aviation.

“That was a great adventure,” Snow said. “[It] really prepared me for the realistic detail that helicopter pilots need to have.”

In August of this year, Snow was completing a night training exercise with his instructor, Jay Bunning, when he spotted a glow in the distance.

“Is that a fire?” Snow asked Bunning. They flew over to investigate it, and sure enough, it was the beginning of a wildfire in the southwest part of Bend. They flew close, intentionally making lots of noise to wake people up, and called 911 to report it. Snow and Bunning were recognized by KTVZ for their quick thinking and action.

Rosalinda Corning

The Broadside



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