Good Morning Ma’am.
A few years ago I was given the opportunity to fly in your Extra 300 through Civil Air Patrol, essentially starting my current flying career. Because of people in my life like yourself, I am where I am today. It’s been a while so I just wanted. to let you know who I am 3 years after getting in your airplane. After leaving Civil Air Patrol and high school, I left for Colorado and joined ROTC. Since then I have maintained a very high ranking among my class.
I graduated Field Training with the honor of distinguished graduate and am currently in the top three of my 40 person ROTC class. Just a few days ago I was selected to be Detachment 105’s Vice Wing Commander in which I will be leading all 180 people in our detachment with on other individual. About a month ago I was awared a pilot slot, meaning once I graduate I will begin training to fly for the Air Force. I don’t know what I’ll fly or exactly when, but it all started when I hopped in that plane with you. So thank you for your help in getting me to where I am today!
- AUSTIN B GILLIS, C/Capt, AFROTC Cadet Wing Squadron 2 Training Officer
- AUSTIN B GILLIS, C/Maj, AAS Lt Col Ellison S. Onizuka SQ University of Colorado, Boulder
- 105th AFROTC Cadet Wing University of Colorado, Boulder
Aviation has blessed me…
Aviation has blessed me with the privilege of being able to meet many different people and fly in many different airplanes, but one of the most incredible opportunities I have had was to not only to meet Jacquie Warda, but also to fly aerobatics in her Extra 300.
I met Jacquie in the summer going into my senior year of high school, a few months after my first solo. I did not know much about aviation or what opportunities awaited me as a pilot, but the second Jacquie took off in her Extra 300 with me in the front seat, I knew that flying was going to be my future. The really great thing about Jacquie is that not only is she an inspiration to women and pilots everywhere, but she took an active interest in my life and my career.
Years later, I am still able to ask her for advice and guidance. Not only is it incredible to watch her fly, but she is a role model that I am so proud and privileged to learn from and know.
Since that flight in Jacquie’s Extra 300, I have become a flight instructor and have tried to emulate the passion for helping others succeed that she passed on to me. I obtained my certificates and ratings at an aviation college in Arizona and have instructed both there and in Southern California.
In about a year, I will be applying to a regional airline, and after that, the sky truly is the limit. Thank you, Jacquie, for being such a motivating advocate for aviation and for helping me (and many others) reach my goals and dreams.
Thanks for everything,
Ever since I was a kid, my dream was to fly. My uncle took note of this when I was 10 years old when he took me to my first air show in Mt. Comfort, Indiana. I continued going for as many years as I could to see the likes of the Blue Angels, Thunderbirds, and daring aerobatic performers. It wasn’t until I was 18 years old that I got to meet one of them for the first time, Jacquie! I was lucky enough to go flying with Jacquie in the front seat of her Extra 300, my favorite aerobatic plane. It was one of the most amazing experiences I have ever had and it kicked off my road to becoming a pilot.
Later that year, I started school at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Aeronautical Science. I started flight training as part of my academics and had the support of Jacquie the whole way through. She mentored and supported me throughout my education and has been an excellent friend as I continued to receive my Private Pilot’s license and Instrument rating. I recently graduated with my degree and am managing a flight school in Daytona Beach.
One thing Jacquie has inspired in me is to give back. I do my best to inspire young men and women to chase their dreams of flying each day. I one day hope to do that from the cockpit of a military jet but it doesn’t take that to be an awesome inspiration as Jacquie has been to me.