A Zionsville Middle School teacher’s dream came true on Oct. 25.
On that day, the U.S. Navy Blue Angels 7, a demonstration team based in Pensacola, Fla., arrived in Indianapolis to take Brittany Moon, who teaches humanities at ZMS, on a once-in-a-lifetime flight in advance of last month’s Crossroads Air Show at the Indianapolis Regional Airport.
Prior to each show, the Navy Blue Angels select a key influencer, someone who shapes attitudes and opinions of youth in their communities, to take on a flight. Moon was nominated by her family and peers as the key influencer for the ride.
“I kept an eye out on social media, and once it was posted, several people nominated me, and I nominated myself,” Moon said.
The Crossroads Air Show came took place Oct. 28 and 29. The Blue Angles arrived a few days early to take Moon on the ride.
Moon, a Noblesville resident who has taught at ZMS for 12 years, said the experience of flying in the plane was surreal and indescribable.
“I don’t believe it happened,” Moon said. “I keep watching the videos over and over again because it was an adrenaline rush like none other.”
A sixth-grade teacher who works at Target part-time, Moon said she has been around aviation since childhood.
“My father was a pilot, and I grew up at the airport,” Moon said. “I have been around aircraft my entire life, and I wanted to be a pilot, but things changed, and I became a teacher, which I love.”
Two years ago, Moon decided to pursue her pilot’s license. She started training in March 2021 and earned her private pilot’s license in April of this year. She said there are many ways she could continue as a pilot.
“I am not taking it all the way; however, I am going to stay with my private pilot license and eventually earn my (Certified Flight Instructor) Light Sport license so I can teach others in a specialized aircraft,” Moon said. “Getting a private pilot’s license is not easy.”
Compared to the flying that she has done in her 1946 Aeronca Champion aircraft, Moon said flying with the Navy Blue Angels in one of their Boeing F/A-18F Super Hornets was “insane.”
“The slowest the F18 Hornet can go is the fastest I can go in my aircraft,” Moon said. “The jets are insane, and the flying capabilities they can handle through the maneuvers are incredible. Mine, which has to be hand-started by someone outside of the aircraft and does not have an electrical system, cannot handle anywhere near any of that.”
Besides teaching, Moon helps coordinate the Young Eagles program for the Experimental Aircraft Association Chapter. In the role, she prepares Ray Aviation Scholarship pilots for their check rides and assists Scouts in earning their Aviation Merit Badge.
“I work with the local chapter out of Noblesville,” Moon said. “I am the secretary and coordinator for the Young Eagles. We put on two pancake breakfast fly-ins a year in June and August. We stay busy and serve anywhere from 800 to 1,000 meals at these events. Last year, the EAA had 60 aircraft fly-in for one of the breakfasts.”
Moon said the Young Eagles program offers free aviation flights to kids ages 8-17. The EAA also has a scholarship program.
“For the scholarship, we select a teenager to earn their private pilot’s license,” Moon said.
Besides her work with the EAA and as a teacher, Moon also runs an aviation history club at ZMS.
“I am hoping next year to expand the aviation club to Zionsville High School,” Moon said. “I would also like to get an aviation program going at ZHS that brings more awareness to the careers that aviation provides. Not just being a pilot, but the important ground support such as maintenance crews, dispatchers and air traffic controllers.”
Moon said that one of the most rewarding parts of her career is telling kids that she is a pilot and that hard work pays off.
“(Kids) think that all pilots are the ones that fly commercially, not the ones that are everyday people like teachers, nurses and engineers,” Moon said. “Anyone can be a pilot, not just the person that flies people to their vacations.”
THE BRITTANY MOON FILE
Name: Brittany Moon
Occupation: Sixth-grade humanities teacher at Zionsville Middle School
Husband: Jason Moon
Children: Vincent, 8, and Lincoln, 6
College: “I went to IUPUI and majored in elementary education.”
Hobbies: Reading, crafting, being a mom, sleeping
Favorite Zionsville restaurants: Salty Cowboy, Rice Cooker, Happy Kitchen and El Toro