CJP Bob Hoover Presidential Scholars

Brandon Baber

Hello CJP!

Brandon 2I hope everyone has been having a great summer. I’ve enjoyed the small breaks I get between summer semesters. The spring semester was my most challenging yet. I owe that to my Physics 2 class. I’m proud to have gotten through it with a B! The previous semester was “Summer A,” and I took Aerodynamics and Instructional Design. Aerodynamics took a lot of effort but helped increase my knowledge and understanding of flight. On July 2, “Summer B” classes start, and I’m set to take Aircraft Performance and Domestic/International Navigation. Both are very important courses that I look forward to learning about.

The flying has been fun! I’ve been doing a lot of practice flights trying to improve my commercial maneuvers to be within standards consistently. At first, I did not think the maneuvers were that difficult, but it is a challenge to be consistent. Lazy Eights, Steep Spirals and Chandelles are the maneuvers that are the toughest to get down. It’s been great to feel my control of the airplane becoming more and more precise with every flight. By the end of July, I plan to be a Commercial single-engine certified pilot.

During the week, I still work at Veteran Services to help veterans attend school at Embry-Riddle and understand their benefits. On weekends, I enjoy driving to Sanford to work at Air Unlimited. The summer is very busy and I like getting to meet so many new people.

The past few weeks I’ve been in touch with Envoy Airlines. I’ve been selected as a prospective candidate. My next step is to schedule an interview with them in Dallas, but I need to increase my knowledge of multi-engine operations before I interview for an airline position. It is amazing how fast time has flown. Hard to believe I’m working on interviewing for cadet job positions. It feels like I just left Texas not too long ago.

Thank you again for allowing me to be a part of CJP. Your help financially, along with your tips and advice are useful every day. I could not have done all the things mentioned above without CJP’s generosity and support. I look forward to seeing you all in the future!


Jacob Cook

Hello CJP!

Jacob cook 3It has been one busy summer so far! I can’t believe it is already July. I will be returning to Embry-Riddle in a little over a month, and it feels like I just got home. I am excited to get back and continue to work on my Commercial multi add-on!

This summer, I decided to start a CFI course at a local flight school at the Greater Binghamton Airport in Upstate New York, which is very close to where I live. I didn’t realize the amount of work I was getting myself into! Becoming a flight instructor has been a lot of work so far, and I am only half way done!

There are two major parts to becoming a successful flight instructor. One is having all of the knowledge necessary to teach, and the other is understanding the psychology behind teaching. Learning how to adapt to different teaching styles and learning how to teach people has been my biggest struggle during the CFI course. Thankfully, I have been blessed with a truly great instructor with a lot of experience, who even taught at Embry-Riddle back in the 90s. He has a ton of knowledge in the psychological aspect of teaching, which has helped me tremendously. I am confident that with his high level of flight instructing, I will be a successful CFI when I enter the field.

I plan to finish my CFI training before I return to Embry-Riddle in the fall, so I can hopefully become a part-time instructor on campus. I am really looking forward to teaching new students and give them the same great experience of flying that I received when I first started as a student pilot.

This semester, I am taking some exciting classes to start off my senior year! I am enrolled in Aviation Legislation, Instructional Design in Aviation, Airline Operations, Airline Management and Weather for Commercial Air Transport. I am grateful to finally be done with all of my general education classes and focus on aviation-related classes. I am shooting to finish my degree strong, and hopefully get a 4.0 in this upcoming semester.

I would like to again thank all of the members of CJP who support me and have allowed me to earn a scholarship of this magnitude. Earning this scholarship has been a true honor, and has allowed me to continue my flight training with minimal stress. The opportunities I have received through this scholarship have been tremendous so far, and I look forward to more ahead. Thank you again.


Matthew Gailey

Mathew Gailey 8Happy summer, everyone! I started my internship at Southwest Airlines for the summer and I have learned much more than I ever expected. I am working in the EFB (Electronic Flight Bag) office and meet with pilots every day. I have helped teach a new hire class, write publications sent to pilots on the line, and I am also getting some time in the 737 sim. I am very fortunate that my office is right above the sim bay, which allows me to check them out during any free time I have. My office is very flexible and my leader is a First Officer who is able to teach me different things about the 737. I am learning how to complete the “flows” so that I can operate the aircraft as realistic as possible. Several of my fellow interns are also pilots, and we often work together in the simulators in pairs and try to run through scenarios that are presented to pilots. This is not logged as flight training but is still useful information that will set us ahead in the future.

I am not able to log any flight training over the summer months, so I decided to work hard at the internship and turn it into class credit. Throughout the summer, I have assignments that provide Embry-Riddle with an idea of what I am learning. Many topics that I am covering include professional communication, technical understanding of the applications and airline operations. This is only a small list of the countless lessons I have had from pilots and other people walking through my office each day. I will continue to use the lessons I am learning when I return to Prescott this fall, especially with the EFB I use in flight training. I have also gained tremendous knowledge of Jeppesen FD Pro, which is our primary charting application. This will set me ahead as this is the airline standard of charting apps.

I have received word that I may have the chance to attend AirVenture for the first time. With this opportunity, I hope to shake hands and meet many of you who have given this scholarship opportunity to me and my fellow classmates. The experiences I hope to have in Oshkosh and the speedy advancement of my flight training would have not been possible without your help – thank you!

Once I return to Prescott this fall, I will pick up where I left off in the instrument course. I finished Stage 1 just before leaving and will begin more work on partial panel operations. My plan is to complete the instrument course by early spring of 2020 and begin the commercial single-engine course soon after.


Otto Maytag

Hello, CJP!

Otto Maytag 1I hope everyone has had a great start to their summer! May and June flew by as my summer classes are already completed. I took Speech and Propulsion Plant Investigation. Speech was a class that I certainly did not look forward to taking but now that it is over, I am sure glad I did. Communication skills are necessary for any career and life in general. This course helped me tremendously, and I am excited to carry the progress into my future career and everyday life.

Propulsion Investigation, on the other hand, was a very fun class. This was another course towards my minor in aviation safety. In this class, we studied previous accidents related to propulsion or lack thereof. Both reciprocating and turbine engines were covered. First, we learned about the components of the engines. By the end of the class, we could determine whether an engine was producing power at the time of the crash, and if so, how much. The class also had the opportunity to disassemble a Lycoming O-290 engine. Once disassembled, we could see and touch all of the parts. I am thankful that Embry-Riddle offers so many hands-on courses such as this one.

As far as flight training, the wait times to get scheduled for check rides are much longer than I thought. After a long wait, I completed my Stage 2 check ride for instrument. I am now waiting to be scheduled for the final check ride to earn my instrument rating. I am back home as I live less than two hours from school. This will allow me to work until I am scheduled, and I will drive to Prescott for the check ride.

For the remainder of the summer, I will be working at The Jeep Farm where we restore old Jeep vehicles. I also have a second job repairing a Helio HT-295 Courier. The aircraft was recently in an accident after landing here in Phoenix. After landing, a violent shimmy led to the failure of the nose gear, resulting in a propeller strike. I will be assisting an A&P mechanic to make the repairs. I am really excited to start this job as it will further expand my mechanical skills and experience. This will be a huge step in preparation for an airframe and powerplant certificate. If for whatever reason I am unable to fly in the future, aircraft maintenance will be a good backup.

This year has presented several opportunities that I am very thankful for. I thank you all for your support in my journey to become a professional pilot. I hope everyone has a great rest of their summer, and I look forward to meeting many of you in the near future!


Dillon Smith (2018 CJP Scholar) – Year in Review

CJP-2017-Dillon Smith-Hoover Scholar-0217It is official; my college career is over. On May 4, 2019, I walked across the stage of the Prescott Valley Events Center wearing my cap and gown with all my friends and family in the audience cheering me on. Four years of hard work, friendship, and adventure is over just like that. It feels like just yesterday, my parents were dropping me off at my dorm room during freshman orientation. So much has changed in four years and senior year was by far the best.

Academically, the fall semester of senior year was one of the more challenging semesters of my college experience. I was taking Jet-Transport Systems, Flight Technique Analysis, Dispatch and Airline and Airport Operations – all of which are 400 level courses. In Jet-Transport Systems, I studied and was tested on the same program and software used at SkyWest Airlines for ground school on the CRJ 700/900. At the end of the course, I presented a poster project on the importance of redundant systems in commercial aircraft. My dispatch course was one of my favorite courses at Embry-Riddle because of my professor. It was instructed by my boss at Embry-Riddle Flight Dispatch and former military and commercial aircraft Dispatcher Double A. He was able to provide real-world insight and humorous stories about dispatching in a way that other professors would not be able to do. Airline and Airport Operations was the final class I needed to take to satisfy my minor in Business Administration. This class was very hands on because my professor was also the Airport Authority at the Prescott Airport. In lieu of my final project, I assisted the airport staff in running the Prescott Airshow in October during Embry-Riddle’s annual October West Celebration. I helped set up and take down cones and other barricades, direct traffic and drive attendees around in golf carts. It was a worthwhile experience and much better than writing a paper. Although it ultimately was enjoyable, it was not easy balancing four classes with work and flight training.

I continued my work as an aircraft dispatcher as well as the school mascot and started two new jobs as an admissions campus ambassador and a College of Aviation Peer Tutor. As a campus ambassador in the admissions department, I gave campus tours to prospective students and their families and answered the main public phone line for the university. At Embry-Riddle Flight Dispatch, the two current lead dispatchers were graduating in December, so my roommate and I were promoted to lead dispatchers. As a lead, I conducted all new hire training. It was a great experience being able to share what I have learned over the past three years of work with other students in the hopes that they can have the same experience I did. As a peer tutor, I worked mainly with private pilot students preparing for check rides. I would help them go over material and give them mock check orals. It was so eye-opening be a tutor and see how far I had come as an aviator. While teaching the students, I would remember back to when I was a private pilot student trying to figure everything out, not knowing how I was ever going to get to the level and knowledge of the students above me. And somehow, someway, I have become that older knowledgeable student. Tutoring was as good for me as it was for them. I have heard people say it before, but I soon realized for myself that you don’t truly know something until your able to teach it to someone else. Some of the best lessons I have gained in college did not occur in the classroom; they happened at work and in the cockpit.

All things considered, flight training has gone rather well for me. I spent the fall semester working on my commercial single-engine rating. I tirelessly worked on review orals and review flights for my check ride, making sure everything was perfect before being tested for my rating. I had some struggles with power off 180s and eights on pylons. I dislike ground reference maneuvers with a passion. I ended up going home for winter break the beginning of December prior to making it to the check ride portion of the course.

Fall semester, I continued to live life to the fullest and keep up with the activities and adventures that matter to me. I continued my role as Jazz Band Leader in the Music Club. The jazz band performed at the Annual Embry-Riddle Open Arts Night. I am also a member of the jazz combo, which is a much smaller ensemble that focuses on community outreach and off-campus gigs. We played for the Yavapai County Big Brothers Big Sisters Gala Auction. It was such an amazing time being able to use my musical talent for something that benefits others. I furthered my involvement in Chi Alpha Campus Ministries the fall semester by joining leadership. I would meet with the staff member and other members of leadership every other Tuesday night to discuss how things were going in Chi Alpha and make decisions for future events. With Chi Alpha, I went to Lake Powell, the Grand Canyon and Fossil Creek.

I also participated in a Give Big Event where we helped a family in need by removing garbage and debris from their yard so they could sell their home and downsize to save money. I also became a member of the Aviation Business Networking Club. The primary goal of joining this club was to get sponsored to attend the National Business Aviation Association Convention in Orlando. I ended up getting sponsored and spent a week in Orlando networking and learning about Business Aviation. I toured Lockheed Martin and Gulfstream. It was an incredible experience that further fueled my passion for business aviation and well worth missing a week of school. Not long after that trip, as a member of the ABNC club I helped at an event called Sky Kids in Scottsdale, Arizona. The event was at the Scottsdale airport and pilots from all over the state brought their personal planes and donated their time and money to take children with terminal illnesses and disabilities flying. I was fortunate enough to fly an Embry-Riddle 172 with an instructor down to Scottsdale to be a part of the event. Embry-Riddle put us in a hotel and the next day I got to help kids get in and out of the Embry-Riddle aircraft. It was such a joy to see the excitement on their faces. Some of them have loved airplanes and aviation since they were little but have never had the opportunity to fly. It was a humbling experience and a fantastic reminder that what I am doing for a career is special. Not everyone in the world is able to fly, and I do it almost every day.

That brings me to spring semester of senior year, or what I like to call my “victory lap.” I call it that because I only had one class to take to finish out my college degree. That class was my capstone course, Electronic Flight Management Systems. In that class I used desktop-based flight simulation software to program the FMS of the Bombardier CRJ 700 and the Airbus A320. Taking this class reaffirmed my love for large transport category aircraft and instrument flying. I was in heaven being able to program the computers and monitor the systems. It is so satisfying to program a flight computer, punch on the autopilot after taking off and have the plane do exactly what you expected it to do. For my capstone project, I was paired with one of my classmates and good friends, Natalie. We acted as a flight crew for UPS Flight 1553, an A320 flight from Albuquerque to Albuquerque. The goal of the project was to take us through all the phases of a commercial flight from engine start to landing touchdown. The flight felt real because there were 18 other aircraft on the same mission as well as live ATC through a network that links the airway science lab to the air traffic control lab. There were definitely some hiccups and learning experiences along the way, but our flight was a success and UPS 1553 landed safely. The second class I took was Interactive Media 1. I took this course because I had to be enrolled in at least six credits in order to receive my scholarships from the university. This made it more cost effective for me to take two classes than one. I took this class because it is an introduction to digital art and design utilizing programs such as Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Animate, which are skills and programs I have been very interested in learning. Entering this class was very intimidating at first because I was the only senior and the only student not taking simulation and game design as a major. But, over time, I became more comfortable and was able to produce some worthy art. This class was well worth my time as I have been able to utilize the new skills I’ve learned in other areas of my life. However, I do not plan on becoming a digital artist any time soon. Aviation remains my primary passion.

I finally finished my commercial single-engine rating on February 13, 2019. It was one of the more stressful periods of my life. With the amount of flight students at Embry-Riddle, the flight line is running at maximum if not greater capacity. As an aircraft dispatcher, I was canceling flights due to resources being unavailable daily. Due to that lack of resources, I could not get an aircraft for a refresher flight before my check ride. I ended up taking my check ride with a two-week gap from my last review flight. It was a little nerve-wracking, but I ended up performing fine. I surprised myself with how natural flying had become and that some of the base skills were becoming less perishable. Since then, I have been waiting to start the multi-engine course. I have been on a waiting list with about 24 other students. We have had an abundance of instructors move on to other jobs making it difficult to get students through the course. I am currently second in line so I should receive an instructor soon. I am staying in Prescott past graduation to finish my flight training. I will most likely be here through the fall 2019 semester. Although I was able to walk at graduation, I will not receive my diploma until I finish this flight course. But it is not all bad because I can focus all my effort and energy on flight training and complete the course as efficiently as possible.

Spring semester of senior year, I vowed to myself that I would do all the things I wanted to do while in school because it was my last chance. I made sure I went on every trip with Chi Alpha, one of which I had never been on before. I went to Zion National Park, Fossil Creek and Arches and Canyon Lands National Park. Over spring break, I went on the traditional mission trip to San Luis, Mexico. But this year I added a little more adventure. Last March, three days before spring break, I joined a team of guys on a 3-day, 264-mile bike trip from Prescott, Arizona to San Luis, Mexico. We raised over $6,000 for the Oasis Boys Home in San Luis and the bikes we rode were donated to people in Mexico that need them for transportation. I jumped on the bike at 7 a.m. on a cold Spring morning with no training at all and somehow biked all the way to Mexico. The first and the third day, I biked over 100 miles. It was one of the most difficult things I have done in my life and has since been a constant reminder that I am more capable than what I currently think is possible. It truly was a great semester of engaging with friends and doing the things that really matter to me. I’ve decided to see the silver lining of my circumstances and enjoy this gift of time I have been given.

Right now, I am finding work in Prescott to keep me busy while I gear up to start flying again. Just a couple of weeks ago my parents, sister, grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins were in town for my graduation. I really enjoyed seeing them again. My parents have not been back to visit since they dropped me off freshman year, and I was able to take my mother and my sister flying at Embry-Riddle. This is something my mom and I have been talking about for the last four years, so it was very special to me to have it finally happen. Once I finish my multi-engine training, I will start looking for a job. I hope to utilize my connections and network in aerial surveying to get a job as an aerial survey pilot for a year or two. If that does not play out the way I hope, I earned my aircraft dispatchers certificate last month and will work as an aircraft dispatcher while getting my CFI certificate. It feels weird being out of the education system. For the last 22 years of my life, everything has been structured and laid out before me. And now there is the vastness of the big open world full of opportunity, but I must decide what I am going to do with it.

Thank you for following me and supporting me on this journey. Thank you for personally taking an interest in my success and growth over the last four years and beyond. I just recently went through my exit loan counseling with Embry-Riddle where they show you how much money you owe and the options of how to pay for it. I was instantly overcome with the deepest sense of gratitude. If it were not for the Citation Jet Pilots Association, I do not think I would be a pilot right now. You have given me a gift I can never truly repay. But the one thing I know I can do is not waste it. I will continue to enjoy this journey of becoming a professional aviator, including all the bumps in the road along the way. Thank you for being such a positive influence on my college career and the trajectory of my life.