Lakeland Aero Club opens

Gulf Coast Avionics President Rick Garcia has a new venture: He’s founded the Lakeland Aero Club at Lakeland-Linder Regional Airport (LAL), the home of the SUN ’n FUN annual Fly-In and Gulf Coast Avionics.

The club is a collaborative effort of professional aviators, pilots and students from the Central Florida Aviation Academy, which is also on the LAL grounds, with one common goal: To advance flight education, according to Garcia. All parties have been working hard to get the club off the ground and make sure this organization has the largest positive impact possible, he added.

“This is a great milestone within the general aviation community,” said Garcia. “The club is a program designed to teach Central Florida Aerospace Academy students how to fly.”

Club members will comprise the organization’s board of directors, managing it as they would a business with some adult supervision. They will implement fundraisers and other initiatives to generate revenue to grow the club. The ultimate goal is to make the members more responsible, disciplined and future entrepreneurs, said Garcia.

Members also have the opportunity to receive scholarships, such as the James C. Ray Scholarship, that pay up to 75% of their flying lessons toward their private or LSA license.

Gulf Coast Avionics partnered with the Central Florida Aerospace Academy, HOVA and SUN ’n FUN to help get the club up and running. HOVA will be the key provider of flight instructors and airplanes. Its main task is to make sure all club members are airborne.

The club will meet regularly at Lakeland Linder Regional Airport in Polk County, Florida. Many of the club members are students who attend the Central Florida Aerospace Academy, a high school with a concentration in aviation. “Central Florida Aerospace Academy offers one of the best aviation-oriented curriculums in the country,” said Garcia.

For more information: 800-474-9714.



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