It’s a record setting year for Able Flight with nine new scholarships awarded to date. Six of the recipients will soon begin their training at Purdue University’s Department of Aviation Technology, one has completed a career training course, and two others are upgrading their pilot certificates.
When they arrive at Purdue on May 20th, the Able Flight scholarship recipients will immediately begin flight and ground training programs leading to a pilot certificate. This year’s class includes wounded veterans Jason Gibson of Ohio who was injured in Afghanistan in 2012, losing both legs from the explosion of an IED, and Chris Sullivan of Louisiana who was paralyzed by a sniper’s bullet during service in Iraq in 2005.
Also receiving scholarships are Ellen Howards of Massachusetts who was born with a congenital spinal condition which over the years has required multiple surgeries now leaving her partially paralyzed, Navy veteran Curtis Stanley who lost his left arm due to an accident that occurred while he was in service, Daniel Clayton of Pennsylvania who was paralyzed due to injuries from an auto accident in 2011, and Tim Klemm of Illinois who was paralyzed due to an auto accident in 2003.
In addition, wounded veterans Ryan Kelly of Texas and Adam Kisielewski of Maryland have been awarded scholarships to transition to higher level pilot certificates. And with his Able Flight Career Training Scholarship, Tyrell Rhodes of Illinois recently completed training at Flight Safety International to earn certification as a Corporate Scheduler/Dispatcher. Kelly, Kisielewski and Rhodes are all previous recipients of an Able Flight Scholarship and are licensed pilots.
The Able Flight student pilots at Purdue will be trained by university graduate and undergraduate school instructors. Able Flight’s Charles Stites said, “This will be our fifth year partnering with Purdue to provide an outstanding flight training experience for our students. When they arrive there they’ll discover not only a welcoming and supportive atmosphere, but will quickly begin an intensive and demanding program designed to challenge them very day.”
The five-to-six week course also requires relocating three suitably-equipped aircraft to Purdue. For this year’s training, Able Flight has rented adapted Sky Arrow LSAs from Hansen Air Group of Atlanta and Philly Sport Pilot of Philadelphia, and an adapted Flight Design CT from Peak Aviation Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Said Stites, “We are proud to take the funding received from our donors and sponsors and use that to not only change the lives of our students, but to support these small aviation businesses.”