Dorrell becomes first officer with Capital City Jet Center
For Matt Dorrell, BSA ’22, his journey to becoming a pilot was one that he prioritized from the moment he set foot on Ohio University’s campus.
To prepare for a career in aviation flight, OHIO students not only complete their aviation degree, but they also earn a series of certifications. Students can begin their flight training as early as their first year of study, which allows them to begin working on their certifications while they complete their bachelor’s degree. According to Dorrell, this timeline is what sets OHIO apart from other aviation programs.
“It was a program [that] would allow me to finish my degree and FAA licenses in four years. Ohio University was also one of the few degree programs that would hire students back as FAA certified flight instructors to teach flight labs,” said Dorrell.
Alongside his coursework and flight training, Dorrell stayed involved in student organizations including Women in Aviation and the Ohio Flying Bobcats, OHIO’s flight team. Additionally, the program had a dedicated alumni base who engaged with current students and ultimately prepared them for their careers.
“Both organizations gave me an opportunity to network and make friends with people that I now share a cockpit with. Networking is extremely important in the aviation field; most jobs are filled before they can even be posted online,” said Dorrell.
In fact, Dorrell found his job before it was even posted online. While he was job searching in his final semester of his senior year, he decided to send his resume to companies that operate light jets, since they are more likely to hire pilots with limited experience. One company, the Capital City Jet Center, LLC., was hiring a single first officer and Dorrell saw his opportunity to be a pilot.
He met with the owner of the company and before he knew it, he was offered a job as a first officer. Because he was still a student at the time, he completed his training during spring break of his senior year. By the time he graduated at OHIO, Dorrell was ready to start his first day flying charter jets.
“The most rewarding part of being a pilot to me is arriving at our destination and offloading our passengers knowing that we got them to the destination, whether that was to a business meeting, a wedding or Christmas dinner with their family. When I complete a flight on time and safely, I feel rewarded that I got those passengers to where they needed to be,” said Dorrell.
Dorrell’s dream of becoming a pilot had come true through his own dedication and the support of his friends and mentors. He noted that one of his biggest mentors was alumnus Grant Rhue who helped guide Dorrell and his peers through the program, prior to his passing in late 2022. Additionally, chair and associate professor in the Department of Aviation, Deak Arch helped support Dorrell both professionally and academically, ultimately helping him decide between two companies that offered him jobs upon graduation. This network of support has been one of the many reasons students love aviation at OHIO.
“Ohio University is a special place for aviation,” said Dorrell. “Finishing my degree in four years and having full-time employment upon graduation is one of my biggest accomplishments I made at OHIO.”