Top Hawk 2022

Top Hawk Schools

Top Hawk is leading the way for aviation programs to continue training the next generation of pilots. Top Hawk is a partnership between Textron Aviation and top aviation schools to provide students with access to the world’s most popular trainer, the CESSNA SKYHAWK.

Select universities and Cessna Pilot Centers will participate in Top Hawk to promote general aviation and connect future pilots to higher education. They will receive a factory new, custom branded Cessna Skyhawk to use for the duration of the program to promote aviation at air shows, aviation contests, and recruiting events. Top Hawk aircraft also allow schools to showcase their connection to Textron Aviation’s reputable internship program and support discovery flights and learn to fly programs.

Congratulations to Ocean Aviation, Illinois Aviation Academy, Berichi Aviation, Queen City Flying Service and South Dakota State University, who are participating in the 2022 Top Hawk program to promote general aviation and connect future pilots to higher education!

Ocean Aviation (Berlin, MD)
Ocean Aviation Flight Academy was founded in 2007 and has a rich history of flight training. Many students arrive each year with the desire to become pilots, some as a future career, others to enjoy the wonder of flight, eventually owning their own aircraft. Yet others simply desire a much more efficient mode of travel then land based transportation can offer.

No matter their motivation, they soon find that Ocean Aviation Flight Academy is a great choice for flight training. As an FAA Part 141 Flight Academy, we must maintain the highest standards required by the Federal Aviation Administration. Additionally, Ocean Aviation Flight Academy is a Cessna Pilot Center which allows us to provide the Cessna CPC interactive flight training courses, considered to be the finest interactive flight training courses available.

Our location on the Eastern Shore of Maryland is perfect for year around flight training as it allows us to train in mostly clear skies and uncrowded airspace. Weather is flyable throughout the year, with our students training in both summer and winter conditions. We are big enough to offer the advantages of the largest flight schools in the country while maintaining a warm friendly atmosphere. Students tell us often that they feel a sense of community here and we strive to maintain that personal touch.

Illinois Aviation Academy (West Chicago, IL)
Illinois Aviation Academy, Inc. (IAA) was created in 1993 with nothing more than a passion for aviation. Our slogan was and continues to be "IAA provides a quality aviation experience at an affordable price." This has been accomplished through the structured Cessna training program, a dedicated team and a great location, DuPage Airport in West Chicago Illinois.

From those humble beginnings, IAA has become the largest private, FAA approved 141 flight school (Private, Instrument, Commercial and multi-engine) in the Great Lakes region. Currently, IAA has over 20 full time instructors and over 20 Cessna 172 training aircraft working with approximately 500 pilots each year. IAA has a management team that has nearly 200 years of cumulative aviation experience which represents knowledge, stability and brings real world experience into the training environment.

IAA has forged partnerships with local high schools, colleges, corporate flight departments and airlines to provide a clear path for students into desired careers in aviation. IAA is also proud to have helped over 1000 recreational pilots obtain their aviation dreams of a license and often aircraft ownership.

IAA is dedicated to making a better community with year-round community outreach initiatives like Tuskegee Next, to provide aviation opportunities for men and women of nearly all ages. Open 7 days a week from 7am to 7pm, IAA is a friendly environment where everyone is taken care of and made to feal like family.

Illinois Aviation Academy, Inc. is grateful to be selected as a “Top Hawk” recipient and will endeavor to use the new Cessna 172 in a manner that will uplift the aviation community.

Berichi Aviation (Fort Lauderdale, FL)
Berichi Aviation is the exclusive Cessna Pilot Center at Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport. We have a 100% safety record and 100% job placement rate. We have never had an accident. The Flight Instructors at Berichi Aviation are comprised of former U.S. Military, Charter, and the top Professional Flight Instructors in the training industry. The team at Berichi Aviation has created a successful corridor for student pilots to enter a career as a professional pilot with the best training possible, at an affordable cost.

Berichi Aviation is a fully accredited FAA Part 141 flight school that focuses on producing the best and safest pilots possible. We are also Veteran’s Affairs approved and Florida Department of Education approved.

We are partnered/approved with over 50 colleges and universities on handshake throughout the United States, posting jobs and internships for qualified college students and alumni. We are partnered with two financial institutions that provide loans for our students for all ratings, including housing and living expense stipends.

We are currently the highest paying flight school in South Florida. Thus, after completion of flight training, students are able to work as flight instructors and usually pay back their principal investment in less than 18 months, working as a full-time flight instructor (which is also when they usually reach the 1500 hours of flight time they need to apply to regional airlines).

We have been featured on the Science Channel flying our Cessna Station Air and on Textron’s Instagram in our new Skyhawks graduating US Military Veterans with US Military Veteran Flight Instructors.

About the President

Charlie Berichi is currently a PhD candidate at Florida International University (FIU) with a focus on Aviation Security. He also teaches CJE 4174 Comparative Criminal Justice Systems and CCJ 2020 Introduction to Criminal Justice as an Adjunct Professor at FIU in Miami, FL. He is a member of AOPA, MMOPA, TBMOPA, and HJOPA, speaking at flight instructor safety seminars, providing mentorship pilot services in the Honda Jet, TBM, and PA46. Berichi completed his bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice and Master of Public Administration degree at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, FL, where he was elected Student Body Governor of the Boca Raton Campus. I’m 2016, he founded Berichi Aviation.

FAA Ratings Held:
  • Airline Transport Pilot (AMEL & ASEL)
  • Instrument Airplane
  • Certified Flight Instructor ASEL
  • Certified Flight Instructor MEL
  • Certified Flight Instructor-Instrument Airplane

Queen City Flying Service (Cincinnati, OH)
Queen City Flying Service is the resurrection of a flight school that operated at Cincinnati's Lunken Field and Middletown, Ohio's Hook Field from the mid-1920s until 1971. It was owned for most of its existence by George “Pappy” Wedekind, Sr, a WWI pilot and mechanic who performed as a barnstormer after the war and eventually became the airport manager at Middletown and Lunken. QCFS provided the flight portion for Miami University’s civilian pilot training program, sponsored by the US Navy, in Oxford, Ohio prior to WWII. The founder of FlightSafety International was an instructor at QCFS in the ‘40s before moving on to Pan Am and then eventually FSI.

With the blessing of Pappy's granddaughter, the new QCFS is honored to revive such a historic name. We began with a single Skyhawk and two instructors in October 2020 with a vision to bring premium flight training back to Lunken. Despite starting in a time of global crisis, we have steadily grown our client base, and as demand increased, we added a Cessna 152 in July 2021, and we now have four flight instructors. We offer Private Pilot through Flight Instructor training, and we hope to expand into Light Sport, tailwheel, and perhaps floatplane training on the Ohio River in the future.

Waypoint Aviation is the host facility for QCFS. Waypoint is the newest terminal at LUK, with a beautiful lobby, private office space and conference room, on-site maintenance, and a meticulously clean hangar. Queen City is proud to offer a flight training environment unlike the typical school experience of dingy classrooms, cluttered hangars, and rundown equipment.

Our instructors are flight training professionals with real-world experience, versus time-builders at other schools looking to bail out at the first opportunity. We treat every client as an individual with specific needs and desires, not a number to be pushed through as quickly as possible, and our clients have responded to that treatment with their loyalty and word-of-mouth advertising.

We're excited to partner with Cessna on the Top Hawk program, and we look forward to further expansion of our fleet and instructor staff to serve the growth of our client list.

South Dakota State University (Brookings, SD)
South Dakota State University is the state’s largest, most comprehensive higher-education institution. A public, land-grant institution, SDSU was founded in 1881 and had a fall 2021 enrollment of 11,465, with students coming from 47 states and 66 countries. Students can choose from 86 majors, 38 specializations, 101 minors, 37 master’s degree programs, 16 Ph.D. programs and two professional doctorates. Students enjoy the full college experience of a NCAA Division I atmosphere while maintaining the welcoming small-town South Dakota character.

The SDSU aviation program offers a four-year curriculum that will prepare students for an exciting career in aviation. Students graduate with a Bachelor of Science in aviation education.

SDSU’s aviation history began with an aviation mechanic school in the 1930s. In the 1940-1950s, flight courses were offered for students desiring to obtain FAA ratings and certificates. In the 1980s, a minor in aviation was first offered. The current program began in 1998, when the college instituted a Bachelor of Science degree in career and technical education with a specialization in aviation education having an initial enrollment of 15 students.

SDSU’s FAA Part 141 program has grown to 185 students enrolled and 17 aircraft including 11 Cessna 172s. The aviation education specialization is accredited by the Aviation Accreditation Board International (AABI). Students completing the aviation education bachelor’s degree are eligible to apply for a restricted privileges airline transport pilot (R-ATP) at graduation. The SDSU aviation program operates from Brookings Regional Airport, which offers students the opportunity to fly over the beautiful plains of South Dakota.

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