March 19, 2014

Able Flight Pilots Get Their Wings

Tyrell Rhodes & Matt Brandon

Tyrell Rhodes & Matt Brandon of Bombardier

Five new pilots received their Able Flight Wings in a ceremony at EAA AirVenture on July 24th. Parents, supporters and sponsors joined more than 100 guests as Jason Jernigan, Devon Radloff, Tyrell Rhodes, Matt Sponaugle and Wesley Major were honored for their hard work and success during their training at during  the Able Flight/Purdue University third annual joint training program. (Unable to attend was new pilot Steve Scott.)

Matt Brandon of Bombardier was on hand to pin wings on Tyrell Rhodes who was selected as the Able Flight/Bombardier Scholarship recipient for 2012. Rhodes was selected for the Bombardier Scholarship for his efforts to promote the history of the Tuskeegee Airmen and for his outstanding achievements while training at Purdue. Bombardier is one of only two sponsors to have a scholarship named in their honor in recognition of their continued commitment in support of Able Flight’s mission of using aviation to change the lives of people with disabilities.

Jessica Cox, Jessica Scharle & Tom Evernham

(L-R) Able Flight pilots Jessica Cox and Jessica Scharle with Tom Evernham

Able Flight pilot Jessica Cox, the first person born without arms to be licensed by the FAA, introduced Career Scholarship winner and Able Flight pilot Jessica Scharle who recently used her scholarship to earn an Airline Dispatcher’s Certificate. Presenting Scharle with her award commemorating her scholarship was Tom Evernham of the TBMOPA Foundation, a  nonprofit created by TBM owners which provided Able Flight with a grant that was used to support  Jessica Scharle’s training.

A special thanks to airshow great and friend of Able Flight, Michael Goulian who pinned wings on three of the new pilots and to Jeff Alexander, David Dunlap and Chris Throndsen of  Sennheiser Aviation for their generous donation of a new  S1 headset to each of the pilots. Able Flight sponsors and supporters attending included Clint Clouart of Embraer, Gary Rankin of the American Navion Society, Tyson Weihs and Jason Miller of ForeFlight, Dennis Schmidt of Sandia Aerospace, and Jim Irwin and Desiree Czaplinski of Aircraft Spruce.

Sennheiser presentation at Wings Ceremony

Chris Throndsen of Sennheiser (at podium) presents pilots with their new headsets

Also honored at the ceremony were Derek Stewart and Justin Lowe  of Purdue who were selected as Able Flight’s 2012 Flight Instructors of the Year. Working under the direction of Professor Bernie Wulle, Lowe guided the development of a new training syllabus for the 2012 program, while Stewart served as the Lead Flight Instructor for a team of six instructors which included Edwin Richardson, Boaz Allyn-Feuer, Garrett Goodwin and George Schnur.

To learn more about this year’s pilots who trained at Purdue, see Six Scholarship Winners Chosen To Train At Purdue.

Images courtesy of General Aviation News.