SUU to Everywhere

Cory Wegener (’19)

Cory Wegener (’19)
SUU to Aviation Pilot

Originally published on January 13, 2021.

For as long as he could remember, Cory Wegener wanted to fly airplanes. But growing up in small town Gunnison, Utah (population 4,000), he figured flying was one of those pie-in-the-sky dreams that had little chance of coming true. That all changed when he discovered SUU Aviation.

Cory, the oldest of seven siblings, was fresh out of the U.S. Air Force where he served as a respiratory therapist and cardiopulmonary lab tech. With that experience under his belt, he figured medical school was the next logical step and so he began exploring medical school options. During his exploration, Corey discovered a great flight school in southern Utah that had just purchased 10 new Cirrus SR20 airplanes that provided maximum safety protection and advanced avionics to students and instructors. That discovery changed his mind about medical school and brought him to SUU. He earned his associate of applied science degree in Aerospace Sciences and Technology in 2019, and in a couple of semesters will earn a bachelor’s degree in business with a minor in finance and marketing.

He says the SUU aviation program has some of the best flight instructors in the nation who provide the most current education that the aviation industry has to offer.

“They always made sure to raise the bar for us students to prepare us for our future in aviation,” Cory says of his flight instructors. “Many things I learned at SUU have already kept me safe in the skies.”

Today, Cory lives in Florida and flies for Aerial Banners, the second-largest aerial advertising company in the nation and owners of the largest fleet of Piper Pawnees in the world. Aerial Banners is helping him earn his 1,500 flight hours, a requirement to become an airline pilot, which is his ultimate goal.

He enjoyed his classes here and says there is no equivalent to traveling at speeds up to 180 mph and altitudes up to 14,000 feet. But aside from flying, Cory thoroughly enjoyed his “Buyer Behavior” class taught by SUU Professor Tyler Stillman. “It was one of those classes I just couldn’t get enough of,” he says.

A favorite SUU memory was passing his instrument check ride, which is no easy feat and one of the most difficult things he has ever done. When he got his official stamp of approval from SUU and the Federal Aviation Administration, Cory says it was also his best day at SUU.

Along with an exciting career in aviation and being the favorite uncle of five nephews and three nieces, Cory has found new interests and hobbies since he moved to West Park, Florida, namely playing disc golf, hitting at the batting cages, and snorkeling out to a coral reef off the Florida coast. He also read the Sherlock Holmes series front to back this past summer, which has been a goal of his for many years.

Cory credits Southern Utah University for pushing him to become a better person and helping him learn that his limits are more far-reaching than he had ever imagined.

“I am very proud of myself for making the jump to aviation,” he says. “I really loved the medical field but my heart and head have always belonged in the clouds.”

Learn more about SUU Aviation