Flight Training Scholarship Recipients Wrap Up Very Busy and Productive Year

2417_090517CJPF_LogoAs the latest recipients of the CJP Flight Training Scholarship look toward 2023, they can also reflect on a year packed with studies, flying and some very impressive accomplishments!

Justin Chirco

My year has been very busy again but I am doing what I love: flying and teaching. I am quickly progressing on my journey at Embry Riddle Aeronautical University toward becoming a professional pilot and have booked over 600 flight hours. Over the summer I took four courses and completed my off-site training in Indianapolis as an Ambassador for Republic Airways.

CJP FL 0822 Justin Chirco

This semester is one of my most challenging, I am enrolled in a very ambitious course schedule in hopes of graduating early. My schedule includes five required aviation classes and one business class enabling me to graduate in the spring of 2023… a year early.

I am also continuing as a Certified Flight Instructor training five aviation students, with a few students waiting to take their check ride and am proud to say I have one student who has already received his private pilot certificate. Continuing as an Ambassador with Republic Airways, I recently ran a Career Day at Embry Riddle for Republic, where we explored future pilot opportunities with Embry Riddle students.

While my schedule may sound challenging, I have found time to begin doing high performance endorsements for my students and to continue as Vice President of Campus Outreach at Embry Riddle for Christ Community Church as well as run a bible study group. To round out my week I volunteer at the church to do the lights and sound tech booth.

My path continues in a large part because of groups and people like Citation Jet Pilots Association who continue to show confidence in me and my dreams.

Thank you again for all of your support!

Lexi Ebersole

CJP FL 0822 Lexi EbersoleI am finishing up the first half of my junior year here at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. I am from Hershey, PA and I moved to the Daytona Beach campus to continue my passion for aviation. Flight training and the classes that come with it are my biggest focuses here. Starting out my commercial flight training at the beginning of this semester, I was told that it would take about two years give or take to complete this which worried me in terms of graduating on time. With hard work and dedication, I am more than halfway through my commercial pilot license in the short time of 2 months.

This month, two more classes started for me as I am in 2 online and 2 in-person classes. This added a significant amount of workload to my schedule, but I am still obtaining all A’s and B’s in the subjects that I am in. The biggest accomplishment I have achieved this semester since beginning my commercial training was flying solo at night. In the training course here, we need 3 night solos that have 10 takeoffs and landings at a towered airport and 5 hours total time that we need to meet.

It can be very nerve-racking when first going up in the air by yourself in the dark, especially because the last time we soloed here was during our private pilot training. But, after that first takeoff and landing, you feel on top of the world. This is the beautiful thing about flying. You build confidence and overall awareness of yourself.

I would like to thank the Citation Jet Pilots Association for aiding in my success. Lessening up financial stress helps me to focus on my grades and being a flight student on top of it all. Showing up to a flight and not having to worry if you must purchase another flight to get more help is freeing. I am extremely grateful for all the help that this program gives to people like me to help achieve my goals. Thank you!

Matthew Kennedy

It is a pleasure to be touching base again in this final update. Being the end of October, the fall semester is over halfway done, and a lot has happened so far. Fall has been a challenge as I’m taking sixteen credit hours, but I’ve learned a lot and continued to grow. This is my second to last semester before graduation and the end is certainly in sight. Despite that, I am ambitious as ever and will finish this final year of my college career with the same effort and determination as the beginning.

CJP FL 0822 Matthew Kennedy

Academically the semester has been great so far. As mentioned earlier I am taking sixteen credit hours. Most of my classes are upper-level Aeronautical Science classes while I do have two meteorology classes I am currently taking to finish up the Applied Meteorology minor. I will have completed the Applied Meteorology minor by the end of this fall semester. At this point in the semester midterm grades have been calculated and each course is really into the meat and potatoes of the course content. I have an A in every class at this point which is something I am striving for every semester. Even though the classes have kept me busy it is a nice change of pace as I spent the entire summer working on my CFI and CFII certificates. I am looking forward to my final semester in the coming spring where I will finish up my undergraduate degree, minors, and hopefully dispatcher certificate.

Although classes have been going well, the biggest challenge this semester has been trying to get an interview with Embry-Riddle for an instructor pilot position. Over the past summer I completed the fast-track program offered at Embry-Riddle which allowed me to earn both my CFI and CFII in an accelerated timeline. One of the other benefits of this program is the guaranteed interview it provides with Embry-Riddle for an instructor pilot position. Although I am guaranteed this interview the hiring needs of the university have been such where very little interviewing and new hire training has taken place. Currently there are some indications that a new hire class will commence in December which I am hopeful I could potentially get a spot in if the interview goes well. Although I do not have an interview scheduled yet I have tried to stay fresh on my knowledge and teaching skills. It has always been my intention to work for Embry-Riddle and try to be a role model for those students coming after me as many of my instructors were when I was working through my certificates and ratings. With that said, if this delay continues through the end of this year, I will have no choice but to consider working as a CFI/II outside of Embry-Riddle or potentially work in the aviation learning center at school as a tutor to try and keep my skills sharp while I wait for a flying position as an instructor.

The wait for an interview is unfortunate but luckily this is a small delay and given the nature of this business I’m grateful that so far, my track has been smooth. Relatively speaking, as compared to those that have become a professional pilot before me, my situation is still in good standing and for that I am thankful. I still have my full-time classes which keep me busy and since my last update I was accepted into Republic Airway’s RJet cadet program. This program gives me a conditional job offer to fly for Republic Airways that is valid for the next five years to allow me time to build hours for my R-ATP. The future looks bright, and I am beginning to enter the home stretch before beginning what will hopefully be a fulfilling flying career.

Jasmine Lombardi

CJP FL 0822 Jasmine LombardiSince my last update in August, many things have been in the works. In the last update, I was at the end of course portion of my multi-engine training and I had just completed all of my summer classes. At the end of September, I completed my multi-engine checkride, thus finishing all of my required flight courses at Embry-Riddle. My classes for the fall semester have been great so far, and I can already say that I have learned a lot even though we are only a little over halfway through.

My favorite class has to be my Flight Management Systems class. In this class, I learn how to load a FMS for a Boeing 747-400. Coupled along with the FMS is a Mode Control Panel which I am also tasked with learning as well. By combining these two components, my lab partner and I fly the B-747 sim according to the route received in our airline style flight plans. We take off, follow SIDs and STARs, shoot approaches, and even attempt to land the sim without getting the dreaded red screen.

At the end of October, I graciously took CJP up on the offer to attend the annual convention in Austin, TX. My experience started off at Georgetown Executive airport where I helped track dozens of Citations as they arrived in Texas. I was amazed by both the sheer number of Citations I saw inbound to the airport and by how well managed and controlled everything was on the ground. I even got to see a 001 serial number Mustang with a beautiful new paint job as well. That was probably the first time I had ever seen a first of its kind aircraft.

In the following days, I spent time at the convention center learning about CJP and its mission, interacting with members, and attending information sessions specific to different types of Citations. One of the overarching and I think most important things I saw at the CJP convention was the emphasis on safety culture. By attending the Safe to Land Ground School(sm) and by watching a few of the videos in the “What Good Looks Like” series, I was able to identify safe practices that I can use in my own flying.

Jonathan Spangler

CJP FL 0822 Jonathan SpanglerFirst, let me thank you all for supporting the scholarships which are helping me achieve my dreams of flying for Delta Air Lines. I continue to close in on a December graduation, while wrapping up two flight courses this fall.

At the end of the summer, I completed my initial Flight Instructor certificate. The process was one of the most demanding I have ever undertaken, so earning the certificate was a very important moment for me. I was fortunate to get a little time off from flight training and school between the summer and fall semesters. I went back home to Scott AFB, just outside St. Louis, and did some local flying for fun. Flight training especially in the university programs, can steal the joy and fun out of flying. Taking time to fly cross-country without being graded is very rejuvenating.

Currently, I am scheduled to graduate this December. I am taking a full academic course load including Jet Transport Systems, Applications in Aeronautical Science, Management, and Flight Techniques Analysis. In addition to the academic courses, I am taking multi-engine commercial training as well as flight instructor instrument training simultaneously. To graduate in December, it became necessary to complete both courses at the same time. While not ideal, I am taking it one day at a time and doing well in both courses. In fact, I am on track for another 4.0 GPA semester.

The next steps after graduating are to flight instructor to build my 1,000 hours towards the R-ATP. My plans for the regional airlines include applications for Endeavor, SkyWest and Republic airlines. I anticipate and have a goal of starting with a regional carrier next fall.

Finally, I want to reiterate my sincere thanks to everyone who donates to scholarship funds and to the CJP Aviation Community Services (formerly Philanthropy) committee for making this opportunity available to us. My family greatly appreciates the support.

I learned a lot and met a bunch of great people, but I had to return back to Embry-Riddle to continue my studies. As I am approaching my final semester, I selected and enrolled in my classes for Spring of 2023. I will be taking Operational Applications in Aeronautical Science, Airline Dispatch Operations, Airline Operations Command and Control, Flight Safety, Flight Technique Analysis, and even an ATC Tower class. I am excited to learn all of the new knowledge I will gain from next semester, but I am even more excited to graduate and continue my flight training.