With the pinning of wings on six new pilots, 501c(3) non-profit Able Flight, which provides flight training for aspiring disabled aviators, graduated its 10th class of aviators this week at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh. The six, disabled in military service or by accident, underwent seven weeks of intensive ground school and flight training (more than 700 total hours) at Purdue University and Ohio State University. A seventh grad was unable to attend the ceremony.
Recently, the Aerospace Center for Excellence (ACE) aviation education complex in Lakeland, Florida—site of the annual Sun ’n‘ Fun fly-in—has joined the program as a training facility, enabling the charitable group to operate throughout the year. ACE students are currently building a Zenith 750 Cruzer—dubbed the Spirit of Lakeland—to be used by Able Flight student pilots and the center’s own students for training.
Founded in 2006, Able Flight has awarded more than 100 flight training scholarships to date. “We certainly have the number of applicants to support more people” in the program, said executive director Charles Stites, but the group needs additional funding to be able to do so.
Able Flight sponsors include ForeFlight, Tempest Plus, Perrone Aerospace, Shell Aviation, Embraer, Lockheed Martin, Signature Flight Support, Alerion, Muncie Aviation, and Flexjet.