CJP Bob Hoover Presidential Scholars
A Year in Review
Demanding courses, numerous jobs, important flight accomplishments and the opportunity to network with members of Citation Jet Pilot Association have all made 2018 the most productive year of my life thus far.
At Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, I made the Dean’s List all three semesters this year and have a cumulative GPA of 3.87. In the fall, I passed the most challenging class I have ever taken, Physics 103 (and I passed with a B). Over the summer, I took my favorite class – Flight Physiology. It was interesting to learn all the physiological effects pilots go through and need to be aware of while in flight.
In my flight training, I achieved many remarkable first-time accomplishments. I completed my first solo flight, flew a solo cross-country and received my private pilot certificate! I have earned the right to call myself a pilot. Now the question is, “How good of a pilot can I be?” I started training for my instrument rating in the fall to increase my skills and qualifications. My check ride for instrument will be scheduled at the end of the week. I will then begin working toward my commercial certificate with the goal of finishing by May, which would qualify me for the CFI fast track and be an Embry-Riddle instructor by the end of August.
Conversations with CJP members have encouraged me toward developing a well-rounded view of what can be accomplished through aviation. Tim White at jetAVIVA, Rob Scholl at Textron Aviation, as well as Chic Gregg and Mark Neubauer at Air Unlimited provided much-needed insight into aviation’s corporate side and proposed multiple internship and career opportunities. Bob Wilson (who flew with United), Dave Strain (Delta), and Chris Broom (American Airlines) all shared their experiences and valuable information about the typical day in the life of a commercial pilot for a major airline – my chosen career path. The collaborative mentorship I have received has been phenomenal. Tracy Forrest, Cheryl and Hugh Hardy, Ed Turley, Edgar Soto, Cyrus Sigari, Ben Marcus, Skylar Henson, Randy Broiles and Mike Herman have greatly aided my constant search for guidance and direction whether it be in aviation, business, or life. To all of those who have taken the time and patience to share their advice and experience, I am deeply grateful and will do my best to pay it forward.
I look forward to keeping in touch with those of you who have shared your contact information. I will follow up with emails of my progress at Embry-Riddle and in my pilot career. I did my best to make the most of my experience with CJP by constantly searching for someone to learn from, keeping an open mind and an attentive ear. I will use this same strategy as I pursue my career as an Embry-Riddle instructor and later as a commercial airline pilot. Thank you all so much for your contributions to my career progression, knowledge and the financial support through flight training to reach my goals.
This year seems to have passed in the blink of an eye, and my last full-time semester as a college student has been a blast. I am proud to say that I finished the semester with straight A’s. I will finish my bachelor’s degree with only one B on my transcript giving me a 3.96 GPA. This semester was definitely a challenging one with taking a lot of high-level courses. With that in mind, I think these courses were very valuable, especially Dispatch. I wanted to give myself a backup plan in case of any unforeseen circumstance where I would not be able to fly.
Reflecting on my last two years at Embry Riddle, I think the class that I enjoyed the most would be Aviation Safety. I think the professor did a really good job giving us real world scenarios which kept me engaged the whole semester. I think the most challenging class would be my private ground school class because I was new to aviation when I came to school and it was like a fire hose of information five days a week for a whole semester. I can’t believe that I am almost done with school and will be heading into the real world.
This last semester, I have been flying a lot to earn my commercial single-engine certificate. The highlight of the course would be my solo cross country to Carlsbad, CA. I had a super time flying there and seeing the ocean was a plus. The challenging part of the course has been learning new maneuvers and power-off 180 landings. But I am excited to soon get into the DA-42 and fly something with a little bit more power. I will be graduating on May 4 which is when I hope to be finishing my multi-engine course as well.
The past two years that I have been in the CJP family have been life changing. I have never met such generous people who are willing to go out of their way to help new generations get on their feet. A lot of people have given great advice specific to getting a job in the aviation field, and general life advice that I will use forever. I also heard many great stories that I have learned from and will continue to share with others throughout my life. It is amazing how the aviation family can attract people with all kinds of backgrounds with one love – flying.
I have made several connections with people such as Denise Wilson from Desert Jets and pilots from Textron Aviation. I plan to expand my knowledge about both the corporate side and the test pilot side. My goal is to ultimately become an airline pilot, but I am always up for other flying opportunities. I plan to keep in touch with these people and others, so I can increase my knowledge about the aviation industry and enlarge my network circle. I want to give an extra big thank you to Cheryl Hardy and Tracy Forest for helping so much the last couple years, and really making feel a part of the CJP family.
While I am not going to take any classes during my last semester at Embry Riddle (because I have finished all of them before the end of my flight training), I am going to aggressively look for job opportunities for when I am done with college. My end goal is to work at the airlines, but I first must find that middle job which will help me get my hours to qualify for the airlines. Currently, two of my biggest options are the CFI route. My first option would be to go to American Flyers where I can go through an accelerated CFI course and get my CFI in about two months. Afterwards, I would be able to work in my hometown as a CFI at a flight school. My second option would be to sign a two-year contract at Embry Riddle, completing my CFI course and then working there for two years. I am also looking to find a job outside of instructing such as aerial survey, photography, pipeline patrol – all would be great ways to build hours. After earning 1,000 hours, I plan to join a regional and eventually flow into a major airline. I recently became a cadet for SkyWest airlines which I am very excited about, but I am still open to other regional options. I can’t wait for what the future holds, and the journey to get there.
Once again, I want to thank everyone from the bottom of my heart for supporting me through my journey. I am the first in my family to become a pilot and doing so has been no easy task. Thank you for helping me get on my feet so I can make those first steps to a hopefully a long and successful career in the aviation industry. Keep the blue side up and have a great start to 2019!
To start, 2018 has been a year of many accomplishments, positive experiences and amazing goal achievements. When I first received the call about being chosen as the 2018 scholar, I was part way through my instrument rating and starting the second semester of my sophomore year. Over the past eleven months, I earned my instrument rating, passed my commercial pilot single engine checkride and completed 11 courses towards my degree. Although I have made great strides toward my undergraduate degree, that is only the tip of the iceberg in terms of what I have been able to accomplish this year thanks to CJP’s generous support and guidance.
Through my extracurricular involvement, I was able to visit the Delta Air Lines Operations Control Center (OCC) in Atlanta twice this year. I learned tremendously about the daily operations of the leading U.S. air carrier and also established myself with the company, emphasizing my desire to be a pilot for Delta in the near future. Throughout the year, I also networked heavily with Endeavor Air, which is Delta’s wholly-owned subsidiary. Upon hearing about an on-campus Brand Ambassador position with Endeavor Air, I quickly seized the opportunity and applied for the job. In October, I was proud to join the recruitment team with Endeavor Air and will be working on pilot outreach and other projects for the company which I am thoroughly excited for! I believe I have found my “in” to the regional carrier that was ultimately my first choice to work for, and I cannot wait to see what 2019 will have in store for me with Endeavor Air.
Additionally, I was invited to serve on the Chairman’s Advisory Council for the second consecutive year this fall – the only person out of the previous group to receive that honor. While our focus last year was on finding solutions to optimizing scheduling and introducing the idea of a preventative maintenance course, this year I am drafting a proposal for an idea I had about giving CFI applicants a way to gain organic teaching experience with actual students as a “capstone” to the ground lab course. The idea came about during my time in the CFI ground lab this year, where the closest I came to actually teaching a student was during a role-playing scenario where I taught a fellow classmate who relatively matches me in terms of flying skills and knowledge level. It was a bit tough to gauge whether my teaching was truly effective and I believe that the true test to one’s teaching skills can be best assessed with an actual student. By bringing forth this proposal, I hope to improve an already great course and give CFI applicants the chance to test out whether teaching is something they genuinely want to pursue.
Back on the subject of academics, the past two semesters were filled with some of the most challenging yet interesting courses I’ve taken. Perhaps the greatest challenge came with speech class last spring. I’m not the best at speaking and conveying my ideas by mouth, and speech was simply one of those classes I could not “study” for. Despite it being rather tedious, I managed a solid “B” in the course. During the same semester, I took Physics II. Overall, it was an easy course that came with a horrendous final exam, for which the class averaged around a 54 percent. That brought my grade down significantly, which unfortunately gave me my only “C” during my college career. Another challenging class was the CFI ground lab I took in the Fall. Although I passed with a strong “A” and was one of the top 4 in the class, it surely was not a walk in the park. The class ran every day of the week and required lots of reading, studying and creating lesson plans. During our time in San Antonio, I worked well into the night, often to 3 a.m. or later. Although I was feeling burned out by the end, it was an incredibly rewarding experience where I was able to greatly expand my aviation knowledge.
On a brighter note, my favorite courses this past year were the Physics Lab, Commercial Pilot Operations, Aircraft Performance and of course, the CFI ground lab. Last spring, I concurrently took a physics lab course with Physics II. It was a class where I applied theory into action and used professional-grade software to run trials and experiments. It was the best hands-on experience I’ve taken and really helped solidify the fundamental physics that I can apply to aviation and everyday life. Around that time, I also took Commercial Pilot Operations where I gained insight into a whole new level of flying. Perhaps the highlight from this class was a project where I had to design a revenue flight plan for a scenario that involved flying a doctor from Daytona Beach to Kentucky in the most efficient way possible (minimizing time and cost). With attention to detail, I spent quite a bit of time on the project; I remember walking into the computer lab just as the sun was setting and then walking out right at the crack of dawn. Nevertheless, I really enjoyed the assignment and scored highly on it. Aircraft Performance was a class I took this past semester, and it helped me see a “fourth dimension” of flying – with that being the engineering side. I was lucky to have a great professor who imparted a wealth of knowledge. With the course heavily centered around group assignments, it also enabled me to work on my teamwork and leadership skills.
For the next year, I forecast my flight training to continue at a smooth and steady pace. Presently, I am halfway through the CFI-Airplane (CFI-A) course and my goal is to complete the checkride with certificate in-hand before the end of April. After that milestone, I will complete my CFI-Instrument (CFII) added rating before the end of July. My goal is to get hired by Embry-Riddle and complete standardization before the start of the Fall 2019 semester. I plan to work hard and put in a lot of flying during the Fall while remaining a full-time student to help fund my commercial multi-add on which I will do in the Spring of 2020 before graduating. Beyond my undergraduate degree, I want to stay at Embry-Riddle for another two years and complete a graduate degree while instructing before going to work at a regional airline (hopefully Endeavor Air). During those two years, my goal is to continually upgrade and become a check airman with Embry-Riddle.
My plan may seem standard, but it is by no means set-in-stone. At the first CJP dinner I attended at Mr. Forrest’s hangar, I had the pleasure of meeting Marc Dulude who gave me some eye-opening advice. He told me that he didn’t deliberately plan his career path but rather seized a good opportunity when he saw it. Mr. Dulude recommended I watch a speech that he gave to Carleton University called “Roadmaps” where he highlighted the importance of having a general idea of where you want to go, but letting the specifics fill in over time. Previously, I had this narrow-minded vision of getting to the major airlines “as quickly as possible” because that was my end goal – a vision all too many of my peers also share. Once I reached that goal of becoming a captain for a major airline, I figured I would stay in that position and fly the line to retirement. However, the perspective that Mr. Dulude gave me really opened my eyes to explore what’s out there in the world of flying and to not be afraid to take alternate paths in aviation that might come up. I realized there is no sense in rushing to the majors, but that I should take the early part of my career steadily and focus on attaining knowledge, skills, and experience that make me a more well-rounded individual. With that in mind, I hope to explore mountain flying, bush flying, sea planes, gliders and maybe even aerobatics in the next five years just to try my hand at a wide variety of flying.
On our most recent trip to San Antonio, I connected with Chick Gregg and Mark Neubauer. Hearing their story about starting Air Unlimited and the challenges they continually work around to keep an efficient and profitable operation going was another hallmark learning opportunity I achieved through my networking with CJP. I got to connect with Mr. Neubauer and heard that his start in aviation came with selling aircraft parts and reselling airframes. He presented a business side to aviation that really fascinates me and brings to light that starting a business venture in aviation is not something that can be out of reach for me. Perhaps in time, I will also look into various parts of aviation business and explore the operational, planning, logistical and financial side of flight. To start this off, I plan to study Aviation Finance as a graduate student. With all of this in mind, I won’t be afraid of taking a new route to a better opportunity outside of flying a large passenger aircraft if it brings me the happiness and success I desire, which is why I no longer want to set my plans in stone. CJP’s networking and mentorship opportunities have helped me realize that everyone has a unique success story, none of which came about through meticulous set-in-stone planning as young professionals. Everyone forged their path by being “in it for the long run” and focusing on building success one step at a time and keeping an open mind to the opportunities that came along the way.
Of course, I can’t forget about the wonderful travel and dinner opportunities that I experienced this year with CJP. Both dinners at Mr. Forrest’s hangar and the supper at the Hilton in Daytona Beach were a phenomenal way to expand my knowledge and meet so many wonderful people. The Bentonville regional event also let me experience the Citation Jet in action and see firsthand the culture of the American Midwest, fine art, aerobatic aircraft, and the chance to meet Stuart Walton. The annual convention in San Antonio provided me with a learning experience where I gained skills and knowledge that go well beyond anything I could learn in a college classroom along with hearing aviation-industry experts speak about both current and upcoming technology. It was an honor being able to hear Sean Tucker speak about his airshow career along with his advice to safe flying and decision making.
Throughout it all, I am truly grateful that you chose me as one of the 2018 Bob Hoover Scholars. It has been a wonderful year filled with new experiences that I will cherish for the rest of my life. I hope to keep making CJP proud by representing myself to the best of my abilities and always putting safety first. My constant goals remain to stay dedicated to my passion for flying, make my family proud and consistently strive to become a better person and pilot than I was yesterday. Thank you.
Another year in the books, and it ends with the most difficult semester of my college career. Between four classes, four jobs and three club commitments, time was a commodity in short supply. Nevertheless, the last two years have been an amazing adventure full of lessons forcing me to grow as a student, as a pilot and as a person. I have so many great memories of places I have been, things I have done and accomplishments I have achieved. My journey with the Citation Jet Pilots Association has been life changing and I would not be where I am today without the support of this organization.
I may be tired now, but I know as soon as I graduate I am going to miss college. I enjoy going to class. I enjoy the lessons and stories told by my professors, late nights studying and wisecracking in the library with all my friends. It is bittersweet to think that I only have one semester left. Over the past 3.5 years, I have taken 123 credits which equates to 41 classes. I have been able to achieve a 4.0 grade point average for five of my semesters here at Embry-Riddle and currently have a cumulative GPA of 3.933. I have high hopes of graduating Summa Cum Laude. With only two classes left to complete next semester I find this to be a very achievable objective. In the spring semester, I will be taking Electronic Flight Management Systems and Interactive Media I.
My GPA might make it look like school is easy for me, but that is not always true. I have had my fair share of struggles; some classes are harder than others. The most difficult class I have taken at Embry-Riddle is Instrument Ground School. I took this class in Spring 2016, second semester of my freshman year, which in retrospect was a very poor decision. I was still in private pilot flight training – I didn’t even have my pilots license yet. It was the hardest class I have taken to date, but it taught me an important lesson early on in my college career. I finally knew what I was capable of and was finally aware of the resources I had available for to me to be successful. There is never a reason to feel defeated and rarely a reason to give up. There are always people around you who want to see you succeed that want to help you. You just must take the initiative in your own success first. I realized that college wasn’t going to be a breeze, there was going to be struggle, and that’s okay because it is all a part of the experience. But not every class has to be that way – most of my classes were fun and exciting.
My favorite class to date is one I took this semester, Airline Dispatch Operations. I took this class to satisfy my major as well as earn my dispatch certificate as a backup career opportunity. Dispatch itself is not a fun topic but luckily, I had Andrius sitting next to me along with professor Double A. Double A is a licensed aircraft dispatcher who currently works as a Flight Supervisors at Embry-Riddle Flight Operations. He taught us what dispatching is really like, not what the book said. Sometimes a professor can make all the difference, and that class became an hour of entertainment every Tuesday and Thursday morning. I will be taking the practical exam which is the final step to receive my dispatchers’ certificate. In this evaluation, I will sit in a room with an examiner and complete a flight plan and dispatch release for an Airbus A319. Once that is complete, he will grill me on questions for the next three to four hours to make sure I have the competency and knowledge necessary to dispatch aircraft in a part 121 environment. It will be another certification to add to the resume and another skill in my back pocket. However, my goal still remains to fly aircraft for a living and not dispatch them.
Flight training is going smoothly, however, I am feeling a little delayed due to no fault of my own. There is a lack of check airmen to do check rides making it difficult to complete a rating in a timely manner. I am still working on my commercial single-engine rating, but I project that I will finish my commercial single engine rating by the end of January and begin commercial multi-engine training in February. The only problem with this timeline is that there are a lot of students wanting to enter the multi-engine course and the health of the Diamond DA-42 fleet is very poor. Currently, applications to enter the multi-engine course are not being accepted without special approval from the chief flight instructor. And even if you are admitted into the course, the wait time for an instructor is over a month. After all that, once you have an instructor, getting a flight completed can be an absolute nightmare. The Diamond DA-42 aircraft is proving to be very difficult to maintain in a flight training environment which causes activities to get canceled. Knowing all this, I am planning to be in Prescott over the summer after graduation to finish my flight training. I already have a place to live and a job working for Summer Programs as a student coordinator, a position I held two years ago. This is not the timing I hoped for or planned on, but I know everything happens for a reason and I will be finished with flight training soon enough and on to the next chapter of my life.
My current plan after graduation is to spend a year piloting an aircraft for aerial surveying. This was a seed first planted in my head last summer while working as an intern in Talkeetna, Alaska. It was a time-building career opportunity suggested to me by one of the K2 Aviation pilots who happened to be an Embry-Riddle graduate. At that point in time I didn’t give it much thought. Then I met Andrea – a pilot for Desert Jet at the career fair this fall. I had mentioned to her that I was interested in aerial surveying to build hours and she put me in touch with her brother who flies aerial surveying for a young company called Geomni. From my conversations with Max, I fell in love with the idea. It is an opportunity for me to do a kind of flying I may never get the chance to do again moving forward in my career. It is single pilot multi-engine time with low flying VFR flight. Once I have my 1,000 hours and ATP, I hope to become a corporate pilot and fly in corporate aviation.
Going into college, I thought I wanted to be an airline captain for Alaska Airlines. But over my three years of college, plans have changed, attitudes have changed, and desires have changed. I am confident from my experiences at school that I will have a much happier career in the corporate aviation industry. Much of this is due to my experience with the Citation Jet Pilot Association and my attending of NBAA.
My first CJP event was a regional event in Napa Valley, California in the Fall of 2017. It was my first time being involved with the group, and I honestly had no idea what was in store for me. I still remember Andrius and I rolling our suitcases into Ledged Aviation at the Prescott Airport and watching a Hawker 800 pull up on the ramp to pick us up. For that brief moment in time, I felt like the most important person in the world. Then I got really confused because I thought this was the Citation Jet Pilots Association and yet I’m flying in a Hawker (but I wasn’t complaining). The man who was gracious enough to stop by and pick us up for the event was Mr. Chuck Brady. One of my favorite parts of this trip to this day was sitting in the jet talking with him. Turns out his Citation was in the shop for an avionics upgrade. He told Andrius and I about his ambitions and his company and how he got where he is today. From Chuck, I learned the importance of doing something your passionate about and doing it with integrity. Good things will come to you if you work hard, work honestly and do the absolute best you can. During my stay in Napa Valley I learned what an amazing group of people CJP members are. At the first cocktail party, I was greeted by the smiling face of Kelly Drews and got to share a few laughs with David Miller. That night Andrius and I were invited out to dinner with a group of members. Andrew Broom and Tim White immediately took us under their wing and remain two guys I know I can call on if I ever need anything. At dinner, Buck just kept ordering food because we were college students and he figured we needed to eat more. Andrius and I still laugh about when he told the waitress “wings for the boys” and pointed at us from across the table. I was so humbled by the graciousness and welcoming spirit of everyone. These were people I barely knew yet they treated me like an old friend. That trip was the highlight to my entire semester and something I will remember forever.
I feel like I have an extended family now that is rooting for me and there to support me. Attending the national event in Phoenix, Arizona was like catching up with old friends and sharing new stories. This was also the trip when I was first given the opportunity to fly with Tracy Forrest. When he let me sit in the right seat of his Citation, I had no idea what was in store for me. He is such a great teacher and mentor. I have never met a more calming person in my life. And when I attended NBAA this year, it was so cool to see faces I knew. To have friends and mentors within the industry is an incredible feeling. Being able to go to an event and run into Cheryl and Hugh Hardy or catch up with Brian Cox means the world to me. I am part of a family that I didn’t even know existed when I entered college. This feels like a family more so than commercial aviation ever has, and moving forward I can’t wait for a future flying in this amazing industry.
I can’t thank you enough for the opportunity to be a member of the Citation Jet Pilot Association. It has influenced the trajectory of my life in the best way possible and I am so grateful. You have taken a dream and made it reality given me and my family a huge blessing. When I received the phone call from Cheryl that I had won the scholarship, I still vividly remember sitting in the car with my mother driving home from Christmas shopping. I got a phone call from a strange number in Florida. I remember answering expecting a telemarketer and being pleasantly surprised by Cheryl’s happy voice. In that moment, a momentous weight was lifted off my shoulders. Every time I go into my flight training activities, I strive to do the absolute best I can – not only for myself but for all the people that have poured into me and have invested and care about my success. There have been a lot of surprises throughout my college career, but this has been by far the biggest and the best. This journey over the last two years has been incredible. Thank you for investing in me and caring about my story. No matter where life may take me, I will always be a member of the Citation Jet Pilots.
2017 Hoover Scholar Update
Happy New Year!
I just wanted to check in and send you an end of the semester/year update. This semester went even better than expected.
I achieved my goal of a 3.55 GPA and made the Dean’s List, a long-time goal of mine. Right before Christmas, I completed my instrument course (FINALLY), and I am officially an instrument rated private pilot! With this compete, I’ll be starting my commercial course for single-engine aircraft in just a few days. And as of last night, I put in my application for graduation this Spring. I am beyond excited watching everything I have been working for over the years fall into place.
I’d like to thank you again for all of your support over the last two years. There is no way I could have reached these milestones without the help of CJP.