When it comes to flying, the ability to navigate the friendly skies fits like hand and glove to 20-year-old pilot Jonathan Strickland.
So much so, that the young aviatorâ€™s love of flying is attributed to being focused to the point that he says: â€œI do not know what I would be doing today if I were not for aviation.â€
â€œIâ€™ve been flying since the age of eight and ever since then, I have always loved the freedom that comes with piloting an aircraft. The feeling that you are in 100% control of the operation is incredible,â€ Strickland told EURweb via e-mail. â€œAll I ever wanted to do was to fly airplanes. With that said, it was not â€˜difficultâ€™ to stay focused on that goal. In addition to this, I also had great support from my mother, father, as well as grandparents in looking for any opportunity that would help me making my dream of being a pilot a reality.â€
Reality is one filled with major accomplishments for Strickland, who transformed the sky into a home away from home with his first general aviation plane flight in the Experimental Aircraft Associationâ€™s Young Eagles youth program in Torrance Ca. and lessons learning how to fly helicopters.
Stricklandâ€™s hard work ultimately paid off with him becoming the youngest person to solo a helicopter and airplane on the same day as well as the youngest African-American to solo a helicopter, fly a helicopter round-trip internationally and solo six airplanes and one helicopter in the same day. Add to that, a current job flying the Bombardier CRJ 700 regional jet for United Airlines Express based in Chicagoâ€™s Oâ€™ Hare International and itâ€™s safe to say that dreams do come true for the young man who grew up in Inglewood, CA.