Military News

Monday, September 14, 2015

McConnell Pilot awarded Wright Brothers Memorial Trophy

by Airman Jenna K. Caldwell
22nd Air Refueling Wing Public Aff

9/14/2015 - MCCONNELL AIR FORCE BASE, Kan.  -- Capt. Jessica Rybicki, 384th Air Refueling Squadron executive officer and pilot, received the 2015 National Aeronautic Association Wright Brothers Memorial Trophy.

The award was established in 1948 in honor of Orville and Wilbur Wright, the pioneers of flight.

The annual award recognizes an officer for significant contributions to the community and advancement of enduring value to aviation as a pilot in the U.S. Air Force.

Rybicki, a former NASA engineer and current KC-135 Stratotanker pilot, uses her experience to teach the principles of flight and astronautics while encouraging others to continue innovations in aviation.

Rybicki encourages youth here and within the local community, through a number of outreach programs, to explore academics and career fields in science, technology, engineering, and math.

"It's a fun program, and I have a lot of fun doing it," said Rybicki. "It's important for kids to be enjoying their studies and continuing to work hard and find opportunities to use the skills that they are learning."

As McConnell's STEM program coordinator has reached out and formed partnerships with local schools; visiting classrooms, arranging base tours, teaching children and helping boost their interest in aviation.

"Rybicki demonstrates a continued dedication to the aviation community and a passion for teaching the next generation of future aviators," said Lt. Col. Nils Hallberg, 384th ARS commander. "Her passion is contagious, and it lives on through each of the students she has inspired."

Rybicki, a Minneapolis native, contributes much of her success to the guidance from the support of her family and from her mentors and superiors.

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