Jody Wali took his first flying lesson at age 20 in 1976. In his flight log book, he had written only three words after landing his first solo flight:
“First solo… WOW.”
Shortly after completing his training, he began to instruct other flight enthusiasts and in just two years, had over 25 students.
He began to build his own plane in the 1980s and might have completed it had other opportunities not presented themselves. Jody accepted a job at Marquardt and became a rocket scientist/aerospace engineer, playing an integral part of the completion of THAAD (an anti-ballistic missile system that relies on kinetic energy to destroy incoming missiles), Milstar (a constellation of military communications satellites which provide secure and jam-resistant worldwide communications), and the EKV (The Exoatmospheric Kill Vehicle, which is boosted to intercept missile trajectory by autonomously colliding with warheads in space).
In the last few months of his illness, he found the most peace by imagining himself in flight. He will be missed by many. We are asking friends and family to donate to Giving Kids Wings, in lieu of flowers, to help support other young enthusiasts in their passion for flying.