Justin Pietras '16 - Flight Proposal

“For as long as I can remember, I wanted to fly,” says Justin. “It has always been a dream of mine.”

On a sunny Saturday afternoon earlier this year, Justin Pietras ’05 asked his girlfriend, Susan, to meet him at the airport (where he works) for a flight lesson.  Little did Susan know, a lot more than learning how to fly was about to happen.

After a successful flight lesson, Justin had Susan read off a checklist to prepare for their landing. This was no ordinary checklist, as it had a very special question at the end: “Will you marry the pilot?”

Today, Justin works full time for Radchem Products, Inc. holding titles such as Customer Service Manager, NACD Code Coordinator, and Salesforce.com Administrator. On the weekends, Justin works for SimplyFLY, a modern era flight school located in Sugar Grove out of Aurora’s Airport, as a Certified Flight Instructor (CFI/CFII). There, he is responsible for leading class and flight instruction to sport, private, commercial, and instrument students.

“I always look forward to working the weekends; not for the same reasons as everyone else, but because I get to fly,” says Justin. “It is a time where I can forget about everything and just focus on right then and there.”

That is the very reason that Justin chose to propose to Susan midflight. He wanted to focus on Susan, and do something extremely special for her. “What could be better than asking for Susan’s hand in marriage in a two person plane, 3,500 feet in the air…and with no doors!” says Justin jokingly.

After meeting online, Justin and Susan shared their first date on January 8, 2012 at The Beer Bistro in Chicago, followed by a Chicago Blackhawks game. Since then, they have been traveling, snowboarding, flying planes, and enjoying their time together.

Now able to fly with Susan by his side forever, his dreams have all come true. “It is amazing to share one of my favorite things to do with my favorite person in the world. Thankfully, Susan is not afraid to fly, which is a huge plus in my book,” Justin adds.

Justin graduated from Lewis with a bachelor’s degree in Aviation Administration and a minor in Business Administration. On campus, he was a student manager for the Recreation Center, president of the Resident Hall Association, and a member of Phi Kappa Theta fraternity.

“Lewis provided me with a terrific foundation for my current career paths, in both business and aviation,” says Justin.

Justin combined his love for aviation with his love for Susan to create this truly magical moment that he has chosen to share with the Lewis community. Susan said yes, in case you were still wondering. The couple is able to relive their special day with this great video footage of the engagement.

September 2016

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