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'The Best Part Is the Journey' for FedEx Pilot Jon Turman

9/25/14


West Windsor, N.J. – From the time he was a young child, Mercer County Community College alumnus Jonathan (Jon) Turman ’02 (A.A.S., Aviation Flight Technology) was drawn to flying.

Born in Brooklyn, he recalls passing airports in the car on the way to visit relatives and being intrigued by airplanes – takeoffs and landings, the speed, the control – in short, everything.  “If I heard a plane overhead, I had to turn my eyes skyward.  It was something that always amazed me.  I was bitten by the bug,” Turman says.

That childhood passion fueled Turman’s future goals and ambitions.  Two years ago, he went to work for FedEx Express Airlines as a First Officer.  He currently lives in Hong Kong, half a world away from his early years in New York and then South Brunswick, where he attended high school.

Turman says that FedEx is one of the best companies in the industry.  And his career has proven an ideal match for his considerable energy.  “I love working with my hands and being mobile.  I like the fast-paced environment.”

When it came time to consider his options for pursing his degree in aviation and earning his pilot’s license, Turman says that MCCC’s Aviation Flight Technology Program proved to be his best choice.  First accepted to Embry Riddle Aeronautical University (ERAU) in Florida, he and his mother soon realized that the cost of attending ERAU would be prohibitive.

After attending an orientation at MCCC, during which he met instructors who impressed him with their expertise and enthusiasm, he was doubly sure that he was making the right decision.  “I quickly realized that Mercer would give me the same opportunities as top tier schools at less than half the cost.  I knew it was the place I wanted to be.”

Attending Mercer from 1999-2002, Turman and his classmates studied aviation during the turbulent times just after the 9-11 attacks.  “We didn’t know what would happen in the aviation industry.  But our instructors always encouraged us and remained positive, which enabled us to press forward with our goals of being aviators.”
 
He adds that small class sizes enabled students to build strong relationships with each other and their instructors.

Turman recalls all his instructors with admiration and respect.  “My first aviation course was Commercial Pilot I (AVI 131), taught by Professor Joan Jones.  She, along with Joseph Blasenstein, Jerry Kuhl, and Diane Loving, were great instructors and mentors to me.”

Ready for flight
A happy FedEx pilot

In the spring, Turman returned to the
MCCC campus to address a class of future pilots.

In addition to his classwork, Turman served as vice president of the Flight Club and as a co-captain of the Flight Team. He says that the Flight Team competitions gave him a chance to meet and network with many different people in the aviation industry who eventually became friends and co-workers at FedEx.

He also worked part-time as a car mechanic to help pay for tuition and flight fees.  MCCC’s flexible class schedules allowed him to fit it all in – classes, flight lessons, extracurricular activities and work.

After graduating from Mercer, Turman continued his education at Hampton University.  During the summer, he returned to Mercer to take lessons for his Certified Flight Instructor Certificate (CFI) and, upon earning his bachelor’s degree, he returned to Mercer in 2005 as a flight instructor.

Turman says that employment with FedEx is “a dream fulfilled.”  As a First Officer, he is responsible for assisting the captains with flight duties such as preflight checks, pilot flying/pilot monitoring, and execution of quick and safe flights of time-critical cargo.  He is on call for flights anywhere at any time.

“I love what I do.  It doesn’t feel like a job,” he says.

Turman credits Mercer with providing the foundation to build his career.  He advises MCCC aviation students to be ambitious and pursue their dreams. “Be persistent because you are in a great position for getting hired in the future.  Although times may be hard, remember that the best part is the journey.”

Aviation Flight Technology Webpage

Aviation Flight Technology Curriculum

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