Able Flight, which provides scholarships to handicapped people to help them learn to fly, and Purdue University’s Department of Aviation Technology have partnered for a joint flight training project next summer. Beginning in late May or early June, between two and four Able Flight scholarship recipients will live in accessible university housing and be trained by university instructors at the Purdue University Airport in West Lafayette, Indiana. The student pilots will have the opportunity to earn their Sport Pilot certificates in only a month.
Over the next few months, Able Flight will select scholarship winners from its pool of candidates, with priority given to current or incoming Purdue students and other Indiana residents with physical disabilities. Current Purdue students may earn course credit for the ground school portion of their training, and other student pilots may qualify for continuing education credits.
The student pilots will train in specially-adapted aircraft according to their needs. At least one Sky Arrow LSA will be available for the project and is being provided by Sean O’Donnell of Philly Sport Pilot. Philly Sport Pilot will also provide transitional training for university instructors in the Sky Arrow.
“The Aviation Technology program at Purdue is devoted to access to aviation,” said Dr. Brent Bowen, department head of the program. “We see the collaboration with Able Flight as a unique opportunity for a collegiate aviation program to extend the freedom of flight to individuals that might not be aware they can fly. Purdue’s aviation program is world-class and we need the best and brightest individuals. Physical barriers should not impede the opportunity to fly and we want all people to know they can fly at Purdue. Purdue is committed to pre-eminent leadership in aviation technology and Able Flight will bring to us a new cadre of people who otherwise might not consider careers in aviation.”
Able Flight’s Charles Stites said, “We’re excited to work with Purdue to create this opportunity for our scholarship winners. Purdue’s Department of Aviation Technology is not only one of the premier aviation programs in the country, it is an innovative leader in the training of pilots and aeronautical engineers. During their time there, our student pilots will be immersed in flying in a demanding but supportive setting, and have the chance to explore opportunities for future undergraduate and graduate degrees in aviation.”