Meet Krista Jordan, the 2020 Mary Shea Wright Flight Memorial Scholarship recipient! Krista will be a junior at Northampton High School, where she is a very active member of the school community. She is a class officer, on the school’s fencing team, plays the French horn in the marching and concert band and is also a member of the Model UN. One of her favorite things to do is to go out after football games with her friends from band and eat too many waffle fries at Friendly’s.

The youngest of 5 sisters, Krista grew up in Lakeland, Florida, home of “Sun n’Fun”, so as a kid she got to see some of the coolest aircraft out there – even if she didn’t know anything about them. After moving to Northampton, two of her older sisters participated in the Wright Flight program in middle school. When Krista was in 8th grade, she decided to join Wright Flight as well. “I’m not gonna lie, I mostly joined to go on field trips and hang out with my friends,” admitted Krista. But when flight day came, “the experience of seeing how passionate the pilots at the airport were, watching them move through the detailed preflight checklist and radio calls with confidence and ease really caught my attention. When we actually got up and made the flight, it solidified what I had been thinking the whole day – I wanted to continue in this field.”

7B2 flight instructor Vinnie Melling stepped right up and offered to work with the 2020 scholarship recipient. “Given my long relationship with Mary Shea as a friend, co-worker and mentor, I was happy and honored to participate as a volunteer flightinstructor for the 2020 Mary Shea Wright Flight Memorial Scholarship.”

With the traditional school year ending abruptly, Krista has been able to dedicate much of her free time to flight training and studying. “I am really getting a feel for how to control the airplane. When I went up for the first time, I was extremely cautious, trying to jerk the controls around to overcompensate for turbulence. Even after a few times going up, I found myself unbothered by the winds, instead trying to anticipate rather than react. Since then, I’ve done much crazier stuff- approach and departure stalls, engine failures, slip landings. I’d say there have been plenty of surprises, just because I had completely different expectations of what flying would be like. When I was finishing my work on practicing steep turns, I was talking to Vinnie about stalls (the topic of our next lesson), and how they seemed intimidating, but would probably be less alarming once we started them. Hearing this, Vinnie told me he would just show me one now to get the anticipation over with, which, although it was surprising to immediately go into a stall, was much easier to recover from than I thought! There have been a few other surprises as well- for example, for as simple as it seems, taxiing is still giving me trouble.”

Melling says, “Krista is very dedicated to her lessons. She’s here 2 -3 times a week, does a Zoom ground school with Rose Ganim, and she really appreciates this opportunity she’s been given.  She’s got the right temperament to be a talented pilot – she’s not fearless, but not timid either.”

At this point, the Northampton junior isn’t sure what she’d like to do after high school, but knows she wants aviation to be part of her future. “Right now I am extremely interested in the field of archeology/geology, and so I’d love to work as an aerial surveyor, helping to map out various geological locations by analyzing a region from the air.”

“I’m extremely grateful to have this opportunity and I can’t express how much it means to me to be given this chance.” And we’re glad you’re here, Krista!