April 4, 2016

Able Flight Pilots Earn Their Wings

Able Flight pilots Purdue 2013

(L-R) Warren Cleary, Dennis Akins, Deirdre Dacey, Lt. Andrew Kinard and Young Choi

They had six weeks of intensive flight and ground training and endured hot and sometimes rainy weather during their training at Purdue University.  From mid-May to July Dennis Akins, Young Choi, Warren Cleary, Deirdre Dacey and Lt. Andrew Kinard  flew an average of twice a day every day that weather allowed. They attended daily ground school classes and waited out aircraft maintenance delays, but now  their intensive training  has come  to a close and  Akins, Choi, Cleary, Dacey and Kinard have  all passed  their check rides to become newly licensed pilots.

The five 2013 students will receive their pilot’s wings during Able Flight’s annual ceremony on July 30th at 11AM at EAA AirVenture in Phillips Plaza .  Joining them to receive her wings will be Stephany Glassing of Georgia who completed her training earlier.

When training ended,  this year’s pilots had logged over 260 hours with the help of  instructors Tim Gleeson, Jared Kuhn, Nick Losande, Abe McCollough and Matt Paczolt. In addition, each student received more than 20 hours of ground training from their instructors along with their formal ground school class.

A special thanks to Able Flight pilot (Class of 2012) and current Purdue graduate student Wesley Major for serving as Able Flight’s volunteer program coordinator for 2013, and to Bernie Wulle, professor in the university’s Department of Aviation Technology for directing the program at Purdue. Wulle also taught this year’s daily ground school class.

Able Flight’s Charles Stites said,”Over the past four years we have sent 17 students to Purdue, and they have all become licensed pilots. You can’t argue with a 100% success rate, and that success is based on motivated students who refuse to let a physical disability become an obstacle, outstanding young instructors who see this as a great opportunity to teach people who are willing to give it their all to become a pilot, and to a university that believes in providing an equal opportunity for those who are willing to do the work it takes. And it’s due to the support of the companies who sponsor our program and the associations and individuals who donate. If you want to see what’s right with aviation today, you can begin by looking at Able Flight.”