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HomeFrom JIA Founders

Matt Ritter and Howard Cooper Founded Jews in Aviation in 2009


Jews have stories. Pilots and aviators have stories. Here are our stories:



My story is filled with images of Shabbat, Holidays, Hebrew School and Jewish summer camps. And a Schweitzer 233 glider, a Benson Gyrocopter, a Cessna 152 and a Diamond DA20. My first dual instruction in a single-engine airplane was in 1974. I passed my private checkride at KMMU in 2009, got my Instrument Rating in 2012, my Commercial in 2014 and my CFI in 2016. I now own Tailwinds Flight Education at KPNE.



Hillel Academy, Camp B’nai Brith of Ottawa, Holiday meals, Israel, football, track & field…and Cessnas, Pipers and Embraers and lots of thunderstorms and Ground Delay Programs. After graduating from University of Ottawa, I decided to pursue a career in aviation with the hope of becoming an airline pilot. I am currently a Captain on the Boeing 737 MAX at a major airline.


There are many more stories; we hope you'll share yours. What we all have in common is a tradition that extends all the way from Mt. Sinai and a love for things that fly. Unless you landed on this website accidentally, there’s a good chance that you share with us these same two qualities.


We don’t own the keys. We have a little time and a lot of interest and we are doing the best we can to keep JIA afloat. Our intent has always been for a leadership team to emerge that will maintain it in a democratic process.


We hope that you’ll take that first step, join JIA and become part of something new. Peruse the website and provide feedback. If you have time, volunteer (we could really use your help!).  If you know of others that might find a connection here, contact them and refer them to this website.


Become part of the story.


Howard Cooper                          Matt Ritter

Gladwyne, PA                            Toronto, ON