Discover Flying Challenge


Cessna and six new pilot interns are taking the joy of flight cross-country again with our 2014 Discover Flying Challenge – a unique summer internship for pilots.

Our pilot interns will fly across the country in Cessna 172 Skyhawk single-engine aircraft spreading the word about general aviation and encouraging others to learn to fly.

Follow Cessna’s 2014 Discover Flying Challenge pilot interns on the official Discover Flying Challenge Facebook page. Use the hashtag #DFC14 with @Cessna on Twitter or @cessnaaircraftco on Instagram.

For more than 85 years, Cessna has been teaching the world to fly in some of aviation’s favorite aircraft. The passion and dedication to fly defined our founder, Clyde Cessna, and is alive in every pilot at Cessna today.


From the very first discovery flight to a pilot’s first solo to every flight thereafter, more pilots’ dreams take off in a Cessna 172 Skyhawk single-engine aircraft.

Take a peek at the Skyhawk’s features and specifications! See for yourself why it’s the trainer of choice and perfect for the Discover Flying Challenge.



Alex Krochin, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University

Alex Krochin spent his time with his grandparents in Quito, Ecuador, watching aircraft fly on the approach path to a nearby airport. His father tried to explain to his young son how the aircraft flew. Neither Alex nor his father realized how much those visits to his grandparents would affect him. As he got older, it became apparent to Alex that the only logical career path for him was to be a professional pilot. In 2011, he transferred from Universität Stuttgart in Germany to Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, Fla. where he learned to fly in a Cessna 172 NAVIII. As a 2014 Discover Flying Challenge pilot, Alex will fly across the United States in a Cessna 172 Skyhawk promoting general aviation and encouraging more young people to look at the sky and wonder about flying.



Zach Floto, Liberty University

Zach Floto cannot remember a moment in his life when he didn’t want to be a pilot. He won a drawing for a free discovery flight in a Cessna 172 Skyhawk at his local airport when he was 12… and got hooked! Since then, Zach has been pursuing a career in aviation. He learned to fly in high school at a national flight academy sponsored by the Civil Air Patrol, and he attended Liberty University, where he earned his degree in Commercial/Corporate Aviation as well as his Certified Flight Instructor certificate. Zach joins Cessna’s 2014 Discover Flying Challenge to share his passion for flying with others. 


Julia Hamlin, University of Illinois, Institute of Aviation

Julia Hamlin started flying when she was 12, out of Schaumburg Regional Airport (06C) in her hometown. Like many young pilots before her, she learned to fly in a Cessna 172 Skyhawk. “I can still vividly remember the feeling I got the first time I was at the controls of an airplane, and I still get the same feeling every time I take off,” she said. Her desire to be a pilot ignited when she was 8 while watching aerobatic pilot Patty Wagstaff perform at Oshkosh. She told her father “I’m going to do that when I grow up,” and she hasn’t looked back since. Now, after having earned a Bachelor’s degree in Aviation Human Factors and a private pilot’s certificate from the University of Illinois, Julia will join five other pilots in Cessna’s 2014 Discover Flying Challenge. 
Keven Lenahan, Stanford University

Keven Lenahan, the youngest in a family of pilots, grew up in the backseat of his father’s aircraft with his brothers and sister. Not long after his brothers, he joined the general aviation community, earning his private pilot’s license in his family’s Cessna 150 at 16. This summer, Keven will join Cessna for the 2014 Discover Flying Challenge to promote the industry in which he grew up and the community in which he flies. “After being raised in a general aviation family and realizing how the industry has become smaller… I want to encourage others to follow their dreams to become pilots.”  
Daniel Tou, LeTourneau University

Daniel Tou came to the United States from Macau, China, in 2010 to study Aeronautical Science at LeTourneau University and to pursue his dream of becoming a pilot. He earned his private pilot’s certificate and his bachelor’s degree in Aeronautical Science from LeTourneau University. This summer, Daniel joins five other pilots for Cessna’s 2014 Discover Flying Challenge. He will travel across the United State promoting general aviation and taking people up on discovery flights in a Cessna 172 Skyhawk. 
Matt Paarlberg, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champagne

Matt Paarlberg first flew in a small aircraft while he was studying at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champagne, but his interest in aviation sparked when he was only 12 during his first commercial flight. His mother, a flight attendant for United Airlines and flying enthusiast, took him on a working flight to San Francisco on which Matt made the decision to become a pilot. At the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champagne, he earned a bachelor’s degree in Aviation Human Factors as well as his Commercial Multi-Engine, Certified Flight Instructor and Certified Flight Instructor-Instrument certificates. This summer, Matt will fly across the United States for Cessna’s 2014 Discover Flying Challenge encouraging other young people to pursue a career in aviation.

Michael Smith, Wichita State University

Michael Smith was born in the United States but grew up in South Africa. Living in different places around the world throughout his childhood made him appreciate international business as a young adult, which is why he is pursuing a degree in Business Administration in Entrepreneurship at Wichita State University. Despite not having grown up in Wichita, he is not short on a passion for the industry that named the city the Air Capital of the World. This summer, Michael joins Cessna’s 2014 Discover Flying Challenge as the team controller.  


Allison Hoffman, Purdue University
Allison Hoffman earned her private pilot’s license in a Cessna 172 Skyhawk while she was in high school. While studying Professional Flight Technology at Purdue University, she added commercial license, instrument rating and multiengine rating, among others, to her résumé. This summer, Allison joins Cessna’s 2014 Discover Flying Challenge as the team dispatcher, guiding Cessna’s six pilot interns across the country.



Where are Cessna's 2013 Discover Flying Challenge pilots?

DFC 2013