For Julie Moore, the journey from fighter pilot to teacher makes for great lessons.
Those who can, do. Those who can’t, teach.
Unless you’re Major Julie Moore.
An accomplished fighter pilot, Moore spent 12 years of distinguished active duty in the U.S. Air Force, where she flew the $30 million F-16 fighter jet in locales both foreign and domestic.
For many, the story would end there. For Moore, the Air Force was the first part of a career that continues to unfold today in the classrooms of Florida Institute of Technology’s College of Aeronautics. And she owes the latter, in large part, to the former.
In 2007, Moore received the prestigious assignment to serve in the U.S. Air Force Aggressors, a squadron of the best-of-the-best pilots whose job was to act, essentially, as the enemy. In the sky and on the ground, the Aggressors demonstrated adversary systems and tactics.
In other words, they were teachers. Other fighter squadrons in the United States and allies around the world were the pupils. It was Moore’s first time as an instructor, and soon she was hooked.
“That’s when I fell in love with teaching,” she recalls.
In 2010, after three years in the Aggressors, she transitioned to a role as an active duty detachment commander in the 93rd Fighter Squadron at Homestead Air Reserve Base in South Florida. She held that position until 2012, when she became a reservist.
A graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy, Moore by 2012 had earned a Master of Science degree in environmental studies, in addition to the bachelor’s degree in human factors she earned at the academy.
In 2013, her commitment to and skill at teaching was validated when she was hired as an assistant professor in Florida Tech’s College of Aeronautics. She teaches a variety of upper-level classes at the college, including courses on unmanned aerial systems, advanced aircraft systems, aeronautics and air traffic control.
But her work has extended well beyond the classroom.
In early fall, Moore worked with Homestead to bring two F-16s to the Melbourne Air & Space Show, an event that drew upward of 150,000 people. Her effort, which included flying one of the jets into Melbourne International Airport for the show, encapsulated how she and the university use her military experience to enliven and strengthen her teaching.
“It’s really great that Florida Tech employs a reservist,” Moore says. “It’s a mutually beneficial relationship. My students are exposed to military aviation, in addition to the exposure they are given to commercial aviation. And I’m very grateful for the support I receive from Florida Tech, enabling me to do my reserve duties.
“The air show was the perfect opportunity to bring these worlds together.”
The F-16s, parked on the tarmac at the airport during the air show, were a magnet for her students.
“I tell them a lot about the F-16 in my aero classes — aerodynamics, advanced aircraft systems and instrument procedures – so it was neat for them to see it up close and personal with me, showing them hands-on what I may have talked about in class,” she describes.
That, in essence, is Julie Moore’s story: from the cockpit to the classroom and back again.