February 2, 2023

2022 Has Been A Great Year

Able Flight Class of 2022 with their instructors at Purdue

 

As the end of 2022 approaches, we look back to see how well we met our goals. That’s something we do not only to gauge our effectiveness in meeting our mission, but to help us prepare for 2023:  what did we do well, and what can we do better next year?

To understand how effective our program was in 2022, it’s helpful to start with the basic numbers, and then to look deeper into how those achievements translate into real change in the lives of those served by Able Flight.

When we planned for 2022, our goal was to award eight scholarships, and that’s exactly what we did. We accomplished this with the help of  outstanding partners, supporters, and friends, and now we’re looking ahead to even greater success in 2023.

 

 

EIGHT SCHOLARSHIPS AWARDED

Six Flight Training

Two Aviation Career Training

 

FLIGHT TRAINING

       Preflight of three planes at the same time

Flight training scholarships were awarded to six people who use wheelchairs due to the effects of injury or illness. Five men and one woman received scholarships making it possible for them to train with our partner Purdue University. With the help of another partner, Sporty’s Pilot Shop and the assistance of instructors at Purdue, all six new student pilots began their online ground school study early in the year prior to arriving at Purdue in late May. By that time, they had already passed their Knowledge Test (written exam) and were ready to get into the fleet of three specially-adapted planes.

After orientation, they quickly began to accumulate hours by flying as often as twice a day. By early July, all six had passed their Practical Exam (flight and oral exams) and had earned their pilot certificates. This year’s new pilots are Austin “Chance ” Field of Texas, Stephanie Cibello of Pennsylvania, Ryan Chen of California, Chris Murad of Georgia, Andy Burnette of Florida and Nathaniel Miller of Arizona.

 

AVIATION CAREER TRAINING

Two applicants were awarded scholarships to train for skills to provide them with an opportunity to seek employment in aviation, or to enhance their current skills in their jobs. Michael Osbourne of Arkansas received a scholarship to train at Rainbow Aviation to earn his FAA certificate as a Light Sport Repairman with Maintenance Rating, and Ellie Foster of California received a scholarship making it possible for her to train at Unmanned Safety Institute to earn both FAA and industry certification in the operation of unmanned aircraft, a skill she will use in her work in a local government job.

 

SIGNIFICANT ACCOMPLISHMENTS AND INITIATIVES

 

  Wings Ceremony 2022

  • Able Flight paid for over 250 hours of flight training, including aircraft rental, fuel, housing and transportation.

  • Able Flight covered the cost of tuition, travel and fees for aviation career training.

  • Six new pilots were awarded their pilot wings at our ceremony at EAA AirVenture in late July.

  • Able Flight continued an initiative to work with partners to gain approval of adapted flight controls for additional aircraft.

 

SPONSORSHIPS AND DONOR SUPPORT

In 2022, Able Flight continued to receive the support of long-term sponsors and donors, and welcomed several new sponsors for our scholarship fund. In addition, our program greatly benefited from generous gifts from donors.

One donor wishes to remain anonymous for his support of five total scholarships to be awarded over five years (the first was awarded this year) in honor of Able Flight pilot and wounded veteran Sgt. Adam Kisielewski (U.S. Marines-retired).

Donor Mike Bell generously provided funding for an annual scholarship for five years to be given in memory of his friend Mark Hogan. The first of the five was awarded this year.

In 2022, Able Flight was proud to award the first of five scholarships funded through a unique crowd funding initiative created by Zack Reising, a young man from Indiana. With the help of friends and family, Zack raised funds to help others that face the same type of physical challenges he faces every day. You can read more on Zack’s generous story here.

We want to thank sponsors and donors that have been supporting our program for years, giving us the ability to plan ahead knowing we will have the funds to fulfill our mission. Those sponsors are:

We also want to acknowledge that the aviation department of Netflix is supporting an aviation career training scholarship for 2023. To see all of our sponsors visit here, and to see a list of those who generously support Able Flight with their donations, visit here.

 

GOALS FOR 2023

Looking ahead, we plan to award eight scholarships again in 2023, with a stretch goal of increasing that to ten. Able Flight is looking forward to its seventeenth year since its founding in 2006, and its thirteenth year of working with Purdue University as our primary training partner.

We will continue to focus on our efforts to grow the number of Light Sport Aircraft models with adapted controls, and look forward to making an announcement on that early in 2023.