LIFT Academy Trailblazer: Elliott Ferguson Becomes First Myrtle Beach Graduate

Elliott, a 28-year-old from Charleston, SC, has always had a diverse set of interests and talents. A 2018 graduate of the College of Charleston, Elliott is the first pilot in his family and the first student to graduate from LIFT Academy’s Myrtle Beach campus.

Elliott’s introduction to aviation was serendipitous. His first flight was during a golf trip with his father after high school graduation. “I thought it was exhilarating to go so fast and so high in the sky. A few years later, I flew again for work and enjoyed the flight way more than I enjoyed the work I was doing and decided I wanted to fly more often, which led me to find a discovery flight. Then I was hooked,” Elliott remarked. Balancing a full-time landscaping job, Elliott pursued his private pilot certificate at a local school in Charleston, demonstrating his dedication and commitment to his new, ambitious endeavor.

When Elliott learned about LIFT, he was immediately drawn to its structured and standardized program. The prospect of an airline career and the program’s proximity to his home in Charleston made Myrtle Beach an ideal choice. He started at LIFT in January 2023 as an instrument rating student and completed the program in February 2024, transitioning to an instructor role by March 2024.

Elliott speaks highly of the culture at LIFT, describing it as professional, diverse, and open-minded. The vibrant mix of backgrounds and the infectious energy among his peers created a stimulating learning environment. LIFT’s high standards, structured procedures, and skilled instructors were pivotal in helping Elliott achieve his goals.

One of Elliott’s favorite aspects of the program was the camaraderie he developed with his fellow students. The mutual sharing of knowledge and experiences, coupled with the support during challenging training periods, created a strong sense of community. “Everyone brings lots of excitement and energy into their training which is infectious.” This environment of collective learning and encouragement was instrumental in his success.

As an instructor, Elliott finds immense satisfaction in witnessing his students’ “lightbulb moments” during training. “It’s very rewarding. My very first student passed his private pilot check ride recently. I always wanted to be able to help others achieve the same things I have and watch as their dreams become reality.”

Reflecting on his journey, Elliott attributes his success to his faith and the excitement and reward of pursuing his passion. Elliott offers valuable advice for aspiring pilots which is this:

“If you dream about being a professional pilot it’s possible and you should do it. I waivered on the decision for years because I feared It wasn’t feasible financially and I was worried I wouldn’t be able to accomplish the challenge of training. If you are willing to be humble and disciplined and get out of your comfort zone, you can become a pilot. Anticipate the days of great frustration during training, it’s normal and part of the growth. It took a lot of faith for me to do it, but I’m so glad I did it because it is very exciting and rewarding.”

With many more graduates to follow in Myrtle Beach and beyond, Elliott’s story is a testament to following new dreams and aspirations. With accessible, attainable and accelerated programs, the next generation of commercial airline pilots take off right here at LIFT Academy. Apply now.