We're taking the joy of flight cross-country once again with our 3rd Discover Flying Challenge program in 2014! For more than 85 years, Cessna has been teaching the world to fly. This passion and dedication to flight defined our founder, Clyde Cessna, and is alive and well at Cessna to this day. In fact, with more than 195,000 airplanes delivered, you could say that Cessna is the world's favorite airplane. Today, the industry is looking at potential pilot shortages in the future, a picture that just does not sit well with us, so we are once again taking action!

The aircraft of choice: 
From discovery flight to solo to certification, more pilots have launched their dreams in a C-172 Skyhawk than in any other aircraft. Take a peek at the Skyhawk’s features and specifications, and see for yourself why it’s the perfect trainer and aircraft of choice for the Discover Flying Challenge. 

Click here to learn where the 2013 DFC pilots are now!

Steps to becoming a DFC pilot

If you have ever wanted to be a part of something bigger than yourself... if you have ever wanted to change the lives of others by igniting an insatiable desire for flight... and, if you are one of the best and brightest minds in collegiate aviation population, then Cessna just might have a once-in-a-lifetime internship that is right for you.

Cessna is scouring the top schools in the country for only the best to fill internship positions to fly one of our single-engine aircraft. As an intern for Cessna in our Discover Flying Challenge program, you will be the face and voice of the world's leading general aviation company. You will be competing to be the Ace of the DFC program as you perform your duties as product ambassador at flight schools and venues across the United States. Throughout the program, you will be expected to leverage social media in new and unique ways to spread the word through virtual barnstorming that would make even Clyde Cessna himself proud. Only the best need apply, but if you think you have what it takes, read on.


General passion and enthusiasm for learning to fly which includes, but is not limited to the following:

  • Attend pancake fly-ins, open houses and other events planned by Cessna and our affiliates
  • Take pictures, video and post to Cessna's social media outlets
  • Travel to Cessna Pilot Centers throughout a defined territory and perform familiarization flights in Cessna products
  • Attend the famous EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh, Wisconsin and talk with Cessna customers about your experience flying Cessna single-engine aircraft
  • Speak fluently to the benefits of aviation as well as key performance aspects of the Cessna single-engine aircraft



Minimum of Junior in an accredited college. Field of study is open although Marketing, Business, Aeronautical Engineering or Aviation Management are preferred.

Position Requirements:

  • Certified Flight Instructor, preferred
  • Minimum of 250 flight hours
  • Garmin G-1000 experience preferred
  • No incident/accident history
  • No FAA action
  • Professional attitude coupled with an extroverted, engaging personality
  • IMC experience recommendation from a university department head
  • Submission of a video clip, writing samples and social media footprint
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DFC 2013

Where are the 2013 DFC pilots now?

Cessna selects talented young aviators to take to the skies in our customized fleet of Cessna Skyhawks. You followed them on their adventure, now see where they are and what they have accomplished. 


Lucas Worthen
Lucas "Puppy" Worthen

Lucas joined the Cessna family as an Associate Sales Engineer to support the single-engine product line. After graduating from Florida Institute of Technology with a bachelor’s degree in Aviation Management and Professional Flight, Lucas is now pursuing a masters degree in Aviation Safety. Lucas has been flying since he was 13 and has logged 1,200 hours of flight time. Lucas has a keen eye for photography and enjoys adventure sports. He lists Bob Hoover, one of the founding fathers of modern aerobatics, as his idol and inspiration for pursuing flight.


Brian Dierks
"Big" Brian Dierks

Cessna is proud to have Brian onboard as a Marketing Associate. Brian has continued to spread his passion for aviation as a flight instructor at the Cessna Employees Flying Club. Brian graduated from Texas State University in 2010, and is currently pursuing an MBA. After inheriting the skill of flight from his father at a young age, Brian has accumulated 1,700 flight hours and is preparing for his Airline Transport Pilot checkride. Adding to his impressive flight resume, Brian is an experienced aerobatic pilot and former member of the United States Advanced Aerobatic Team.

  Brian Simmons
Brian "Skippy" Simmons

Brian is now in his senior year at Middle Tennessee State University where he is still flight instructing full time. He recently competed in his last regional flight competition with the MTSU Flying Raiders Flight Team placing in four different events. He has accumulated over 950 hours and plans on pursuing his Multi-Engine Instructor and Restricted Airline Transport Pilot certificates this upcoming spring. After Brian graduates, he plans on pursing a career in business aviation.
  Ryan Todd
Ryan "The Apprentice" Todd

Ryan has returned to Eastern Michigan University where he is finishing his final two semesters toward a degree in Aviation Flight Technology. Currently, he is working on completing his Certified Flight Instructor and Instrument Flight Instructor ratings. Ryan is staying busy working at the Suburban Aviation Cessna Pilot Center and serving as President of Eastern Michigan’s chapter of Alpha Eta Rho, a collegiate aviation fraternity. After graduation, Ryan plans to return to Cessna as part of the 2014 Rotational Sales Associate program.
  Lawrence Howard
Lawrence "Wheelie" Howard

Lawrence joined the Cessna family as a member of the flight training department. He is now training Cessna customers through conducting G1000 avionics system and simulator courses at our Independence, Kansas facility. Lawrence graduated from Hampton University with a bachelor’s degree in Aviation Flight Education in 2012 and continues to pursue a professional pilot career.
  Stephen West
Stephen "The Scholar" West

Stephen is currently completing a B.S. in Aerospace Engineering at North Carolina State University. He plans to graduate this coming May and intends to pursue a doctoral degree in aerospace engineering. At NC State, Stephen works in a research lab developing deployable carbon fiber structures and is part of an international design team completing the structural design of an advanced long-range airliner. He continues to flight instruct part-time at FlightGest Training in Raleigh, North Carolina.

Chelsea "Mother Hen" Carvalho

Chelsea Carvalho is in her senior year at Wichita State University in pursuit of a bachelor's degree in Business Administration-Accounting. She continues her love for sports as a volunteer Volleyball Coach at the YMCA. Chelsea was offered and accepted a Leadership Development Program internship at Textron beginning next summer.


Apply to be the next DFC pilot ›

DFC 2013