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New Hangar Fundraising

Be a part of our success story. Help us raise a new hangar to continue our mission of training and developing at least 997 pilots and technicians.

Joseph Craig

Birmingham, AL

     In the beginning there was a funny small kid that loved 3 things more than anything, aviation-based engineering, his grandfather, and his uncle Joe, which he was named after. He was proficient at almost anything, especially in the technical/business field which his uncle first wanted him to go into.

     If we fast forward to his later years in life when he was around 19 years old, we discover that the small kid was not so small anymore and because of it, his uncle decided to get him into both sports and martial arts. He had such a natural knack for the two that he even got the opportunity to be a 6’0” 315 college defensive linemen and received recognition from both pro athletes in the NFL and UFC. Sadly, all his athletic momentum was brought to a halt within the span of 3 months’. During that time his uncle that loved him enough to get him into sports died of prostate cancer, he hurt his knee so bad that he had to have a 10-hour surgery, and his mother developed breast cancer all at the same time while being an engineering student at Auburn University.

Two weeks after his uncle's funeral, while in rehab for his knee he was rushed to the Auburn University Med Clinic for trouble breathing and then to the ER because the doctors said he had a blood clot next to his heart and that he was about to die. Miraculously, after he survived that trauma, he soon realized that he did not do everything that he wanted to and decided to make something of the life he was blessed with.  Since his athletic career was up, he decided to try to go back to trying to become an engineer and after many struggles his advisor told him to pick up a minor that he was interested in to help broaden his spectrum of how things work. So, he took her advice and decided to minor in Business Engineering & Technology, after remembering that his uncle Joe knew he would shine best while in the business/ technology field. As time went on, he then asked his advisor if he could take certain classes that did not have anything to do with his major or minor but would help him in the long run as a professional. She quickly told him no and said that he could not do that because the college would not allow it. Nevertheless, seeing the young man's potential and passion however, she recommended that he leave the college of engineering and pursue a major called Interdisciplinary Studies, which would allow him to mix and match different disciplines, and so he did.

     Thanks to that one year later he became a huge success in the corporate world and became known as a polymath. He became so big in fact by the age of 21 he had started his own Tech Company research team, became the leader for inventing and entrepreneurship in the state of Alabama, and helped start 6 other companies after he established his own. Yet, he was still not satisfied with himself.

Consequently, he talked to his grandfather, a retired marine from the Vietnam War and was reminded about his passion for aviation. His grandfather was one of the most respected aviation mechanics during that time and told him that “if you thought working on plans was amazing try flying them.”  Two weeks later he signed up for a discovery flight to see what his grandfather was talking about and the second he saw the world from a true bird’s eye view he knew he wanted to be a pilot.

     Currently, he is going into his last year in Auburn University’s ROTC program where he is competing with 22 other students for a pilot spot and finally got the opportunity to work on getting his private pilot license thanks to the Red Tail Scholarship Foundation. Every now and then people tend to come to him after he has told them his story and ask him if he were to get a second chance at sports would he take it and his answer is always the same. He would explain to them that even though sports were fun he fell more in love with what he is doing now than he ever did with sports.

Joseph Craig