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 aviator’s love of flying is attributed to being focused to the point that he says: “I do not know what I would be doing today if I were not for aviation.”
“I’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,” Strickland told EURweb via e-mail. “All I ever wanted to do was to fly airplanes. With that said, it was not ‘difficult’ 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.”
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 Association’s Young Eagles youth program in Torrance Ca. and lessons learning how to fly helicopters.
Strickland’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 Chicago’s O’ Hare International and it’s safe to say that dreams do come true for the young man who grew up in Inglewood, CA.