April 11, 2013
By Julie Summers Walker
More than 75 students from New York and Florida received the trip of a lifetime on April 11 when a JetBlue Airways Airbus A320 picked them up and flew them to Lakeland, Fla., for the thirty-ninth annual Sun ’n Fun International Fly-In & Expo.
David “Scott” Malcomb, an instructor at JetBlue University College of Technical Operations, pitched the idea to his airline. The flight was free to all. The students, age 14 to 18, are enrolled in aviation programs at their high schools. As 17-year-old Parker Quinlan said, “it was awesome,” and Malcomb said he believed all of the kids were “blown away” by the experience.
Quinlan, whose father is a pilot for Southwest Airlines, said he was thrilled to meet Van’s Aircraft owner Richard “Van” VanGrunsven, and the Sun ’n Fun experience has convinced him he’d like an aviation career. “I am considering the Air Force,” he said.
Among the students was a group from the Eagle’s Nest aviation experience, which is featured in the May issue of AOPA Pilot.
AOPA Senior Features Editor Julie Summers Walker joined AOPA in 1998. She is a student pilot still working toward her solo.
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