A recent University of Oklahoma Aviation graduate was one of eight pilots from around the country selected to participate in the inaugural Cessna Discover Flying Challenge (DFC) this summer to promote Cessna’s Skycatcher aircraft and generate interest in aviation. Jennifer Scanlan, who graduated from OU in May 2012, flew mostly around the Great Plains area, making trips as far south as Houston and to Kansas City and St. Louis.
The eight pilots were dispatched by a dispatch intern, and each had a general region of travel where he or she was scheduled to go to fly-ins and flight schools at various airports. The interns also managed Facebook pages and Twitter accounts to spread the word to the aviation community. At the end of the program, the interns reconvened at EAA's AirVenture, known mostly as Oshkosh, one of the largest aviation festivals in the world that takes place every summer in Wisconsin. It ran July 23-29 this year. The interns paired up to fly a few of the Skycatchers into Oshkosh, where they were part of Cessna's aircraft display.
Scanlan learned about the Discover Flying Challenge when she and the Sooner Aviation Club visited the Cessna headquarters in Wichita, Kan., in mid-April. There were a couple of weeks left to apply for the internship, and Scanlan decided to take a chance at the opportunity.
“Aviation-related internships are hard to come by, especially when they involve some actual flying,” Scanlan said. “I thought it sounded like the perfect internship for me.”
A lot of people in the aviation field are aware of the Discover Flying Challenge, and Scanlan said it has been neat to see aviation journals and publications that most pilots read cover the program. She also enjoyed seeing how much interest the interns generated in the Skycatcher by working together, even though they were separated across the country.
“Every week we are updated by the Skycatcher's business leader as to how many sales leads have been captured that week, the frequency of visits to our website and other statistics on social media,” Scanlan said. “It's neat to see how much interest has been generated in just a few weeks.”
Scanlan became interested in aviation well before college, and following the program, she would love to teach students how to fly. She received her Flight Instructing Certificate last semester. As far as an ultimate career goal, Scanlan would like to become a corporate pilot because she likes the idea of flying the same clients and knowing her passengers on a first name basis.
“I think that being a corporate pilot would be fun because you never really know where the boss might want to go that day, allowing you to see a lot of new and exciting places,” Scanlan said.
OU Aviation, a department within the College of Professional and Continuing Studies, offers flight instruction and accredited bachelor’s degrees. The department has provided quality aviation education since 1947. For more information about OU Aviation, visit aviation.ou.edu.