Small woman equipped with big dreams

Florida Memorial University junior named Air Force RPA pilot

Ashley Montgomery | 3/13/2014, 9 a.m.
Shanisse Lanoue, petite in stature — standing at just five feet — is a testament that you can do anything ...
Shanisse Lanoue

“I want her to achieve her dreams, it looks like she will be,” Tolbert said.

When asked if she was the shortest student he’s ever had, he chuckled and replied, “not quite, I’ve had only one a little shorter, but she’s not far behind.”

Lanoue is also a proud member of the award winning FMU Flying Lions. For the past three years, Lanoue has played a significant role on the National Intercollegiate Flying Association Region IX team. FMU competes with powerhouse teams such as Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and Jacksonville University and are judged on their landing accuracy, flight planning, navigation and grounder trainer flight precision. FMU has had top three finishes for the past three years.

Proud to serve

Lanoue will begin with the Air Force in September of 2015. This is the first Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) slot ever received by a FMU student. There are only 75 RPA positions in the country and Lanoue is one of them.

On March 4, it was reported by the Pentagon that the military has increased its funding support in 2015. The Pentagon acquisitions budget request reports that 12 new attack drones for the Air Force, totaling a $59.7 million increase in its drone-purchasing budget for 2015.

Lanoue can expect to remotely control the likes of the Northrop Grumman RQ-4 Global Hawk and/or the Lockheed U-2, affectionately known as Dragon Lady one day. Both are drones operated by the United States Air Force which are used as high-altitude platform for surveillance and security.

Upon graduation, she will receive her commission as a Second Lieutenant in the Air Force.

Although the Military itself was never something that she considered nor was interested in, once she got to FMU she began to heavily consider it.

Lanoue says while she started learning more, she began to like it more — thanks to FMU’s rigorous aerospace program.

According to the university’s Department of Aviation and Safety information pamphlet, the programs are designed to educate the future administrators and technical managers of the aerospace industry. The curriculum puts much emphasis on quantitative reasoning; human factors; human resources management; written and oral communications; computer literacy and aeronautics. Those accepted into the major, may choose to get a Bachelor of Science degree in Aeronautical Science or Airway Science with a concentration in Flight Education; Air Traffic Control; Airway Science Management.