February 2, 2023


Lt. Colonel Daniel Gade U.S. Army-retired

After seven weeks of intensive flight training and ground school, seven 2019 Able Flight scholarship recipients are now licensed pilots. Six trained at Purdue University and one at The Ohio State University, and they will be honored at Able Flight’s annual Wings Pinning Ceremony at EAA AirVenture 2019.

Our Class of 2019 includes Lt. Colonel Daniel Gade (U.S. Army-retired) who was wounded in combat in Iraq, Leslie Irby of Georgia who was paralyzed in an auto accident, Joey Moncalieri (U.S Coast Guard) who was paralyzed in a motorcycle accident, Samuel Mahoney of Wisconsin who was paralyzed due to a fall, Anthony Radetic (U.S. Army-retired) who was paralyzed in a motorcycle accident, Will Bucher of North Carolina who was paralyzed in a motorcycle accident, and Steven Martinez (U.S. Marines-retired) who was injured in a motor vehicle accident.

Leslie Irby

Thanks to the instructors at Purdue and OSU, the students logged over 700 total hours of instruction, including 337 hours of flight instruction and more than 400 hours of individual ground training. And that doesn’t even include a daily ground school class for the first month.

Ten recipients were selected to train in 2019. In addition to the seven who completed training, one student’s training was delayed due to a medical condition, one withdrew, and one will require different adapted controls to complete training.

The 2019 instructors at OSU were Kate Meelhuysen and Joe Schwerdtfeger, and at Purdue they were Rachel Jackson, Aaron Ashby, Travis Gowan, Erik Levin, Zach Hill and Chief Flight Instructor, Lucero Duran. The ground school instructor at Purdue was Professor Bernie Wulle.

Able Flight would like to thank our sponsors who make this program possible, including ForeFlight, Tempest Plus, Perrone Aerospace, Shell Aviation, Embraer, Lockheed Martin, Signature Flight Support, Alerion, Muncie Aviation and Flexjet.