How do you manage a 4.4 GPA on a 4.0 scale? “You take lots of Advanced Placement and Honors classes,” said Joshua Gutierrez, a 17-year-old honor student at Central Florida Aviation Academy, which is on the SUN ’n FUN campus.
Gutierrez has the highest GPA in his school and as a reward he earned a ride in the back seat of a T-6 Monday morning.
Gutierrez acknowledged that the competition at CFAA is fierce, because the students are highly motivated and dedicated.
“It takes a level of dedication,” he said. “In the AP and Honors classes there is a higher workload and you’re expected to do higher quality work. I really devote myself to my education because I care about my future.”
The T-6 flight came courtesy of Hathorn Aviation. According to crew chief Jeff Hathorn, the T-6 spends part of the year in Key West, Fla., and part of the year on Jacksonville, giving rides.
Gutierrez was all attention as Hathorn gave him the safety briefing. Although he has flown in Cessnas and other small trainers in pursuit of his Private Pilots license, this was his first time in a Warbird.
Bill Doty, the pilot of the T-6, explained the role of the T-6 for military pilots, many of whom took their first flights in the airplane when they were about the same age as Gutierrez.
“During World War II it was the last airplane pilots flew before they transitioned to fighters,” Doty said. “After World War II it was the first airplane they flew.”
Gutierrez’s flight was extra special, because as the T-6 taxied out, his classmates lined the taxiway and saluted.
A smiling Gutierrez returned the salute. Gutierrez plans to attend Georgia Tech and major in engineering.
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