About Jonathan

Jonathan?s interest in aviation began from the cradle. Before he was able to say the word “plane,? he was pointing to the jets in the sky that were headed to LAX Airport. At nine months of age, Jonathan accompanied his paternal grandmother, Nana, on his first commercial airplane flight to Hattiesburg, Miss. Although he was very young at the time, that first flying experience sparked his fascination. From that flight on, every trip that Jonathan took, the crew would allow him to visit the cockpit to take pictures and sit in the captain’s seat. He could not return home from a trip without stopping at the airport gift shop to pick up a few model airplanes.

For Jonathan’s sixth birthday, he received Pro Pilot 98′ flight simulator software as a gift from his parents John and Andrea. That same year for Christmas, he received other flight simulator software from his grandparents. Over the years, Jonathan began to master the software using yolks and joysticks. By the age of eight, Jonathan had accumulated hundreds of hours of flight simulation training before making his first general aviation plane flight with the Experimental Aircraft Association’s Young Eagles youth program in Torrance Ca. Jonathan continued to broaden his interest in flying by taking lessons to learn how to fly helicopters because he wanted to do something “different.” As a reward for making the Honor Roll, his Nana paid for his first helicopter flying lesson. During the lesson, Jonathan stunned his flight instructor Robin Petgrave by demonstrating that he knew how to hover the helicopter within the first couple of hours of training. He continued taking lessons in both aircraft. Next, Strickland aimed his sights at becoming the youngest person to fly a helicopter and airplane on the same day. He discovered that in Canada the minimum age limit to fly solo in an aircraft was 14 years compared to 16 years in the United States.

On June, 22nd, 2006, just two weeks after graduating from the eighth grade, Jonathan was set to depart on his historical flight. At the controls of a Robinson R-44 helicopter, accompanied by flight instructor, Jonathan lifted off at 6:53 a.m. He made stops at Harris Ranch Airport in Coalinga Ca., Napa County Airport in Napa, Ca. and Arcata Airport in McKinley Ville, Ca. before making an overnight stop at the North Bend Airport in Oregon due to safety concerns about high winds. On June 23rd, Jonathan departed North Bend Airport, headed for Boundary Bay Airport outside Vancouver B.C. Canada, the last leg of his journey. Along every stop Jonathan and Robin were greeted with words of encouragement and kindness from people who were keeping track of his flight. Jonathan battled the winds and landed successfully at 1:35 p.m. PST in Canada, becoming the youngest person to pilot a helicopter internationally.

Congrats in CanadaFor the next few days, Jonathan had to prove to Canadian instructors that he possessed the skills and knowledge to solo an aircraft. On June 29th, 2006, after passing the physical and several written exams (scoring above 90), Jonathan first flew solo in a Cessna-l52 airplane at the Pacific Flying Club located at the Boundary Bay Airport. He then traveled twenty minutes away to Heli-College Canada Training Center at Langley Airport where he made a solo flight in a Robinson R22 helicopter, and in the process, setting two world records; becoming the youngest person to solo both a helicopter and airplane on the same day and becoming the youngest person to solo a helicopter.

Jonathan’s unprecedented trip came to a successful end when he landed at Compton-Woodley Airport on July 1st 2006, setting his fourth world record by becoming the youngest person to pilot a helicopter round trip internationally. He was greeted by family members, classmates, friends, members of the Tuskegee Airmen and of the Los Angeles County Fire Department Air Operations Division, Compton City Mayor Eric Perrodin, Compton Council members, and other notable local city and county supervisors and representatives. Several members of the press and Plane and Pilot Magazine were also on hand.

Jonathan has received numerous awards and commendations from President George W. Bush, the Los Angeles Chapter of the Tuskegee Airmen, the city of Inglewood, the City of Compton, Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors. Congresswoman Juanita Millender-McDonald of California, the Los Angeles Fire Department Air Operations, the Links Incorporated (Harbor Chapter), Milwaukee Academy of Aviation, Science & Technology, the Organization of Black Airline Pilots (ODAP), Boeing, United States Air Force Academy, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, the Fitzgerald Casino Hotel in Las Vegas (chosen for youth panel) and other local churches and civic groups. Jonathan has also been featured in both local and national newspapers, Plane and Pilot Magazine, The Pilot Journal, Jet Magazine and Essence Magazine, and he was also a guest on the Montel Williams Show.

Tuskagee Airmen

With the help of an anonymous benefactor known as the “Captain” by many, at only sixteen years of age, Jonathan earned his United States-validated student solo pilot certificate. On March 15th, 2008, Jonathan soloed six airplanes and one helicopter on the same day, setting another aviation record. Jonathan still continues his journey. On March 1st, 2009, his seventeenth birthday, he received a private pilot license at Hawthorne Municipal Airport in Hawthorne, Ca.. On August 25th, 2009 Jonathan received his instrument rating. On his 18th birthday, March 1st, 2010, Jonathan earned his commercial pilot’s certificate, and recently became certified to be a flight instructor.


2006- 14 years old:

  • 1st aircraft solo (Cessna 152) ? record holder, youngest to achieve
  • 1st helicopter solo (Robinson R22) ? record holder youngest to achieve)
  • 1st International helicopter trip from Los Angeles to Vancouver, Canada ? record holder
  • 1st same day aircraft & helicopter solo ? record holder, youngest to achieve
  • First Year of High School

2007 ? 15 years old:

  • Introduced &learned to flying a high performance complex aircraft, in Instrument Meteorological
  • Conditions (IMC) (Beechcraft A36)
  • Learned how to fly using Garmin?s G1000

2008 ? 16 years old:

  • Earned Student Pilot Certificate
  • Flown over 100hrs form Solo at the age of 16, to Private on 17th birthday

2009 ? 17 years old:

  • Earned Instrument Rating
  • Introduced to Aerobatic Flight, in a T-34
  • Flew a Cessna 172R, from Los Angeles Ca, to Atlanta Ga. (16hr trip)

Fly a Learjet around the World ? Timeline:

2010 – 18 years old:

  • Earned Commercial Pilots Certificate on his 18th Birthday (03-01)
  • Flown over 200 hrs from earning the Private Pilot Cert. to earning the Commercial pilot?Cert
  • Certified Flight Instructor. Check Ride (04-2010)
  • Multiengine Commercial. Check Ride (04-2010)
  • Starts College at Embry Riddle Aeronautical University Long Beach Ca. (09-2010)
  • Majoring in Aviation Business Administration
  • End of Year, projects 600-900 hrs total flight time

2011 ? 19 Years old:

  • Certified Flight Instructor Instrument (01-2010)
  • 19th Birthday March 1
  • Multiengine Instructor Check Ride (03-2010)
  • Learjet Type-Rating School (Summer)
  • Second Year of College
  • Projects 900-1200 hrs total time and 50-100 hrs of Multi

2012 ? 20 years old:

  • 20th Birthday March 1st
  • Last year of college, Graduating with a BA in Aviation Business Administration
  • Projects 1200-1500 hrs of total time, and 100-150 hrs of Multi

2013- 21 years old:

  • Around the World preflight planning.
  • Around the world flight

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