Jacksonville, Fla.—Jacksonville University’s Davis Aviation Center in the Davis College of Business (DCOB) is proud to announce that Leah Hetzel ’ 11 and Sarah Morris ’10 were recognized by members of City Council on Tuesday, September 13 with a resolution acknowledging and congratulating them on their win in the 2011 Air Race Classic, the all-women transcontinental national air race.
“I was so excited and proud for Sarah and Leah to be recognized by the city of Jacksonville,” said Dr. Juan Merkt, director of aviation at JU. “They have shown tremendous commitment to learning and have strived to be the best pilots they can be. I know they are going to have outstanding careers in aviation in whatever they choose to do.”
During the 2011 Air Race Classic, Hetzel and Morris became only the second collegiate team to take home the trophy. They not only beat out the 11 other participating collegiate teams but they also bested all 50 teams made up of the top female pilots in the nation. Forty-three teams finished the race. Hetzel and Morris discovered they had won at an awards banquet on June 26 in Mobile, Ala.
The win was especially rewarding to the pair who had competed in the Classic only a year ago and finished 14th out of 51 teams.
“We were a lot more comfortable and confident this year,” said Morris. “We applied more of what we learned in class and studied the actions of the previous winners.”
Hetzel and Morris say that they hope to see more women aviation majors from JU enter the contest, where they will be ready to pass on all of their secrets and tricks for success.
Hetzel graduated this summer with her degree in aviation management and flight operations after completing one of the most sought-after internships with Delta Air Lines. She is the former president of JU’s Women in Aviation chapter and the founder of JU’s highly successful “Women in Aviation Speaker Series.” She is also a member of Alpha Omicron Alpha Aeronautical Honor Society, the national organization dedicated to recognizing student leaders and promoting safety among collegiate flight programs. Her career goal is to become an airline pilot.
Morris graduated summa cum laude this year also with a degree in aviation management and flight operations. She was named the 2010-11 top Aviation Management & Flight Operations and DCOB senior and received the President’s Award for Outstanding Leadership for her academic, leadership and service accomplishments. She was co-captain of the JU Flight Team and became the nation’s top scoring female at the 2010 National Intercollegiate Flying Association's (NIFA) Safety and Evaluation Conference (SAFECON). Morris plans to earn her FAA Airframe and Powerplant license and use her aviator and airplane maintenance skills to become a missionary pilot.
For more information about Air Race Classic, visit www.airraceclassic.org, and to learn more about JU’s Davis Aviation Center visit us at aviation.ju.edu.