March 18, 2019

2018 Training Underway

Sudenta dn instructors at OSU: Robert Bartlett, Josh Fisher, Rob Shardy, Luke Shutway and Joe Schwerdtfeger

(L-R) Robert Bartlett, Josh Fisher, Rob Shardy, Luke Shutway and Joe Schwerdtfeger

Able Flight’s 2018 flight training scholarship recipients and their instructors wasted no time getting started when the student pilots arrived at both Purdue University and The Ohio State University in mid-May. Within 24 hours of checking into their dorm rooms, the new student pilots had completed orientation and become acquainted with the planes in which they’ll become licensed pilots by early July. Within a few days, all had their first flights.

At OSU, Rob Shardy and Staff Sergeant Robert Bartlett (U.S. Army-retired) met their instructors Luke Shutway and Josh Fisher and the school’s assistant Chief Instructor Joe Schwerdtfeger and took a look at the newly-adapted Zenith 750 being used for training for the first time. With weather preventing flight on the first few days, Shardy and Bartlett continued the ground school study they had started online in February thanks to a donation from Sportys. By May 16th they were in the air, and began logging hours.

At Purdue, Emily Hupe, Asher Kirschbaum, Kory Puderbaugh and Julia Velasquez had their orientation on May 16th, and all had their first flights by the next day. Their instructors  are Andrea Hynek, Austin Decker, Andrew Geers and Christina Gursky. The chief flight instructor  is Lucero Duran and the ground school instructor is Michael Gref.

Able Flight scholarship Emily Hupe with Sky Arrow

Emily Hupe prior to an early flight at Purdue

Hupe and Puderbaugh are training in Sky Arrows and Kirschbaum and Velasquez are learning in an FK9. The FK9 was selected for them because both student pilots are deaf, and the side-by-side arrangement allows them to better communicate with their instructors. Several of the students will also have the opportunity to fly the Ercoupe 415-C that was donated to the program by Shelia Sommers in honor of her late husband Dennis Sommers. Even with weather delays from a stalled front, as of May 28th, the four students  at Purdue had logged a combined total of over 45 hours in the air and nearly 90 ground school hours.

By the  first week of July, the students at both training locations will have passed the ground study Knowledge Test and will be preparing for their check rides, and on July 24th at EAA AirVenture, the Able Flight Class of 2018 will receive their pilot wings.