Flying by the seat of his pants OC alumnus soars to incredible heights
When Tony Weedn arrived on the Oklahoma Christian campus as a freshman, there was a lot he didn’t know.
He didn’t know what he was going to study. He didn’t know the lifelong friends he would make in the social service club he didn’t know he would join. He didn’t know he would meet his future wife, Haylee.
But even with all these unknowns, Tony came to OC with a flight plan. He was determined to become a pilot in the U.S. Air Force.
Tony chose liberal studies as his major because it gave him a backup plan in case his dream of becoming a pilot didn’t come true.
“With liberal studies, you can pick and choose classes to take within three chosen categories,” Tony said. “I was able to be a radio DJ, design websites and learn a ton about history. It was a great feeling having those diverse possibilities available to me in case I didn’t become a pilot.”
But as it turned out, Tony’s classroom dedication and passion for flying kept him from becoming the world’s first web-designing radio DJ with a knack for historical trivia.
After spending four years commuting between Oklahoma Christian and his Air Force ROTC unit at the University of Oklahoma, he was commissioned in the United States Air Force as a second lieutenant and earned a pilot slot.
Just one month after graduating from OC, Tony started Air Force flight training school.
After 14 physically and mentally grueling months, he finished his training with “flying” colors and got his assignment as an instructor pilot. Fast forward a few years, and Tony spends most of his time doing just what his job title implies: teaching his students (many of whom are Air Force Academy graduates) the ins and outs of operating multi-million dollar military aircraft...without injuring themselves or the jets.
In addition to the personal satisfaction he gets from sharing his passion for flying with his students, Tony’s role as an instructor pilot is also quickly increasing the number of flight hours he logs.
The number of hours in flight is one of the many factors that determine the types of missions a pilot is assigned. And, although he’s leaving things in God’s hands, Tony has his sights set on ONE specific mission.
When you ask him about that one specific mission, it doesn’t seem too farfetched when he looks you straight in the eye, flashes a confident smile, and tells you his goal is to fly Air Force One for the president of the United States some day.
But even if he does end up running the cockpit for the Commander in Chief, Tony always will look back at OC as the place where he first earned his wings.
“I have a ton of favorite memories from OC. If I could come back and start all over again I would do it in a heartbeat,” Tony said.
By Michael Mitchell