Able Flight honors newest pilots

OSHKOSH — Able Flight pinned wings on five of its newest pilots at Phillips 66 Plaza on Tuesday at AirVenture. “We’ve trained eight pilots so far in 2012,” said Able Flight founder Charles Stites. “And it’s only July.” All learned to fly at the 3rd annual Able Flight/Purdue University joint training project this summer.

From left: Jason Jernigan, Devin Radloff, Tyrell Rhodes, Matt Sponaugle and Wesley Major

Five of the six pilots who trained at Purdue were on hand to receive their wings: Jason Jernigan, Wesley Major, Devon Radloff, Tyrell Rhodes and Matt Sponaugle. The pilots were part of a six-week intensive training program where they were taught by university instructors while living in university housing.

“We purchased more than 250 hours of flight training over the past five weeks,” noted Stites.

The partnership between Able Flight and Purdue University’s Department of Aviation Technology offers the scholarship recipients the opportunity to learn to fly in a university setting, and provides the university the opportunity to continue to expand their outreach to flight students with physical disabilities, and to be exposed to Sport Pilot training in Light Sport Aircraft.

Jessica Scharle (right) is honored for earning her FAA Airline Dispatcher Certificate funded by a TBMOPA Foundation scholarship. With Scharle is fellow pilot Jessica Cox.

Also honored was pilot Jessica Scharle who recently earned her FAA Airline Dispatcher Certificate with support of an Able Flight Career Training Scholarship funded by the TBMOPA Foundation.

Flight Instructors of the Year Derek Stewart (left) and Justin Lowe were also honored for their efforts in training the Able Flight scholars.

Able Flight supporters at the ceremony included Michael Goulian, Able Flight pilot Jessica Cox, representatives of Purdue’s Department of Aviation Technology and the TBMOPA Foundation, and Able Flight sponsors BombardierAircraft SpruceForeFlightFlying High Coffee and Sandia Aerospace.

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