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Jackson County High to Now Sky High

Jackson County High to Now Sky High

Twenty-Three year old pilot, Hayden Dutton has been flying planes since he was sixteen.

Ascending to approximately 40,000 feet above the ground, pilot Hayden Dutton is now in the career he decided to pursue in high school. You can say it’s in his blood. 

The views from the Seven Thirty-Seven are incredible. Some of the best sunsets and sunrises can be seen from the pilot’s seat of the plane. 

It’s enjoyable, I get to see new places and hangout with interesting people,” said Dutton, the 2018 JCHS Class Valedictorian.  

The most interesting flight was either when he flew Chris Stapleton and his wife to San Jose, or when he flew the band The Who to Canada. 

Dutton has always enjoyed meeting new people and living life to the fullest. Even as a student at JCHS, he recalls being sociable with all his peers. Flying planes allows him to interact with individuals he would not normally meet.

The other day, a small boy asked to take a photo with me in the front of the plane and I thought it was really sweet. I picked him up and his mom took our photo, and I showed him the front of the plane,” said Dutton.

Since Dutton was a small boy he has been around planes. He recalls his father flying him as a child.

His father was a pilot. It was rooted within young Dutton that someday he’d fly planes and follow in the footsteps of his father.

He is the oldest sibling out of the three. His two younger sisters, Katelyn and Gracen have been his best friends from the beginning. 

At the age of sixteen he’d begin flying and obtaining his private pilots license. 

In high school he took several AP classes, played tennis, and participated in various clubs. Hard work and dedication was ingrained in him from a young age. 

One of my favorite memories from high school was the tennis regional championship my senior year,” Dutton said. “It was down to my partner and I against another team.

My partner and I barely won by like two points but that moment sticks out the most to me,” said Dutton.

All of my teachers at JCHS were caring, I had really influential teachers that were about working hard,” said Dutton.

They showed me that you get what you work for. I think they taught me determination in a sense.”

After graduation he attended the Terry College of Business at the University of Georgia. With all the AP classes and dual enrollment he completed in high school, he was able to graduate within two and a half years. 

Because of his ambition to fly commercial airlines, he had the hours and the qualifications to get started right after graduation.

He now flies for Southwest Airlines at the age of twenty-three. Before joining the Southwest team, he served as a captain for a different airline. 

Before each flight he goes through a checklist of things to do before the plane can be boarded. 

Once the checklist is complete and the plane is boarded, the first officer and captain begin to get the plane ready for take off. 

These moments are what remind him of where he once started. 

Dutton shares a piece of advice to students today, 

Enjoy yourself, Life is short,” he said. “We all have a different journey and path in this life, make the best of the life that you are given.” 

Dutton serves as a reminder that hard work pays off in the end.