Priest, President…Pilot?: Father Jabo’s unique hobby


February 27, 2019

A few weeks ago at Mass, during his homily, Father Jabo revealed an interesting bit of information that many of us in the pews did not know. Not only is he a priest and President of Prep and Villa, but he is also a proud member of the National Association of Priest Pilots, which allows him to meet priests from all over the country who also have their pilot’s license.

Father Jabo has had an interest in flying since he was a teenager. Whenever he took a commercial flight, he would make sure to grab the window seat so he could see the world from the sky. Father took his first flight lesson in 2002 and got his pilot’s license in 2003, the 100th anniversary of the famous Wright Brother’s flight in a heavier-than-air craft. He is verified to fly single-engine prop planes, usually the Cessna 172. This is a single-engine, four-seat aircraft that is considered the most successful aircraft in history due to its popularity and longevity.

Father Jabo does not fly as much as he would like due to high price of renting and his busy schedule. However flying has been very practical for him. A few years ago, Father Jabo had a wedding rehearsal in Saint Marys, Pa.  The wedding rehearsal was the same night as the Prep-McDowell football game.  If he would have driven there, there would’ve been no way for him to make it back in time for the game since it is a two-and-a-half-hour drive each way. Flying only took an hour, so he did the rehearsal and then flew back in time for the game like a proud Rambler.

“Although the engine can be noisy, it is nonetheless very peaceful on a different level,” Fr. Jabo said. “You get a bird’s eye view of the world. Also, it may be the closest I’ll ever get to heaven,” he joked.

He enjoys flying over St. Marys, Pa., because it has a nice long runway and is a scenic flight. On his way there, he flies over his hometown of Warren, Pa., and near the Kinzua Dam. He also likes to fly over popular landmarks such as Presque Isle, where the breakwater structures look like someone drew a dotted line along the beach. Father gets to see the world from a different perspective from a plane. The change in seasons provide plenty of beautiful views, from the reds, oranges and yellows of the changing trees in autumn to the snow-covered hills in the winter. If something catches his eye, he has the ability to head in that direction and check it out.

When asked if he would recommend flying to others, Father Jabo said he absolutely would, “[Flying] is interesting. It gives a new and beautiful view and perspective of the world and makes for good conversation.”

Flying also allows Father Jabo to apply some of the subject matter that he learned in school in a practical way. “Physics is used and is actually critical to flying safely. Knowing the principles of lift, angle of attack, air pressure, aerodynamics, etc. is important to know how that impacts flying an airplane,” he said. “I also use geometry and math in doing my flight planning because I have to figure the wind currents, angles, and the direction I have to fly in order to fly to a particular destination. Flying and the process of learning to fly really expands a person’s knowledge, skills and appreciation of creation. Don’t be intimidated!”
 

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