Rob Glenn’s thoughts on flying Dr. Ben Carson and his admiration for WSCC’s Flight Technology program: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pj1IXIgJekA
HANCEVILLE, ALA. – Earlier this year, Wallace State Flight Technology graduate and instructor Rob Glenn spent a grand total of five nights at his Hayden home between January and February.
Why was he away from home for so many nights?
Glenn, 25, was fortunate enough to serve as the co-pilot for Dr. Ben Carson as the retired neurosurgeon competed in the Republican presidential primary.
“It was an incredible experience and a great privilege to be around Dr. Carson as he campaigned. Dr. Carson is a very humble man and a great human being. He’s just as genuine as you see on television and considers the average Joe as important as someone famous,” said Glenn, a Mortimer Jordan graduate. “Looking back, I learned a lot as a pilot during the campaign. We covered about six to eight months of flying in those two months. I spent two nights at home in January and three in February. Flying into the bigger airports gave me a lot of experience and has helped me as a commercial pilot.”
Once the Carson campaign was complete, Glenn returned to Wallace State to serve as a flight instructor. However, it took Glenn only a few months to earn another impressive post. In May, Glenn was named the chief pilot for Jet-Pep, Inc., the Holly Pond-based gasoline service company.
As Jet-Pep’s chief pilot, Glenn is responsible for flying the company’s business leaders across the United States, whether to meet with potential investors or to scout out potential locations. Glenn is also responsible for maintaining the company’s aircraft with the proper inspections and maintenance. The Jet-Pep aircraft is a KingAir 250, a seven-passenger plane.
Upon graduating from Wallace State’s Flight Technology program in 2014, Glenn became connected with a Birmingham-based flight company as he was also preparing to be a part-time flight instructor at Wallace State.
As Dr. Carson was laying the groundwork for his Republican primary run, the company Glenn was working with received a call from Carson’s party in Oct. 2015, inquiring about flying Carson for a one-day trip from Mobile to Knoxville, Tenn. Through connections at the company, Glenn was asked to assist a friend as a co-pilot that day. They picked Dr. Carson up in Mobile, flew him to Knoxville and back to Mobile in a day’s time.
Another call came from Dr. Carson’s party in January, asking if the same flight crew could serve a little longer this time – all the way through his intended Republican primary run, however long it transpired.
“Dr. Carson wanted a pilot and co-pilot again, but this time it was going to be on the true campaign trail. It wasn’t a one-and-done kind of thing. I jumped at the chance to do it again. I didn’t know how long the campaign would last, but I was ready for anything. We picked Dr. Carson in Mobile again and the first place we flew him was to Des Moines, Iowa for the caucuses,” Glenn said.
Dr. Carson’s presidential run came to an end a few days after the Super Tuesday votes on March 1.
Glenn’s flying duties for Dr. Carson ended on Feb. 24.
“As a family, the Carson’s were a delight to fly. Dr. Carson always enjoyed a Sunkist and barbecue chips and Mrs. Carson loved her popcorn,” Glenn said. “It was just an incredible experience all the way around. I’ll always be grateful for that opportunity. I just wish I had given Dr. Carson a Wallace State hat or shirt.”
In between his duties with Dr. Carson and accepting the position with Jet-Pep, Glenn also completed a job this year by taking aerial photos throughout the Northeast. He spent a week and a half during his aerial photography gig, landing in every state on the Eastern Seaboard except Maine.
“If it’s on the East Coast, I’ve flown over it and taken pictures of it. From Virginia to the Great Lakes to upstate New York, it’s all gorgeous. Watching sunsets from a plane is incredible. Whether it’s enjoying places around Cullman or in other states, I get to see places most people don’t ever have the opportunity to from a plane,” Glenn said. “My work office is literally the cockpit of an airplane. You may have teachers in high school who say you are never going to get paid to look out the window, but I do get paid to look out a window.”
Glenn’s 2016 has definitely been fulfilling career-wise and he credits his fortunes to the thorough training he received at Wallace State.
“I tell people this over and over. Wallace State’s Flight Technology program is definitely one of the best in the state, and I wouldn’t have had these opportunities if that wasn’t so. I’ve flown with pilots who earned their certificates from other programs and in comparison I feel I have learned so much more with my Wallace State flight education. Bert Mackentepe and the Wallace State staff make sure you are prepared for everything,” Glenn said. “When I fly as a co-pilot I have to impress my pilot every single day or I may not get a call back, from getting the plane ready to knowing my charts. I credit all of the follow-up calls I’ve received to my Wallace State education.”
As Glenn works for Jet-Pep, he hopes he can simultaneously make a positive impression on the current Wallace State Flight Technology students.
“We’re like a big family here. Every student here has the potential to be a commercial pilot and they are always going to be true to their home base in Cullman. The more students we can push through this program, the more pilots we get in the air and the more positive publicity we can generate for Wallace State and the Cullman Airport. This airport and school are great. Once your degree is complete from this program, it’s one of the best feelings,” Glenn said.
For more information about the Wallace State aviation program, visit www.wallacestate.edu/programs/technical-division/aviationflight-technology or contact the airport at 256.737.3040.
Wallace State Community College
P.O. Box 2000, Hanceville, AL 35077
1-866-350-9722 256-352-8443 direct
Visit us online at www.wallacestate.edu
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Office: 256.352.8118 | Cell: 256.339.2519 | Toll Free: 866.350.9722
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