Wounded Marine receives first AOPA/Able Flight scholarship

The first recipient of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association Able Flight Scholarship will be honored Tuesday at AirVenture.

Marine Lt. Andrew Kinard (retired) is a Naval Academy graduate who had the option of becoming a Marine aviator in 2005, but chose to lead infantry instead. He had plans to follow his service in the infantry with flight training, but six weeks into his first deployment in Iraq, he lost both legs above the knee due to an IED.

Following 17 months of surgeries and therapy he began an internship at the Pentagon, followed by a job in the office of a senator. Soon after, Andrew began studies at Harvard where he will graduate later this year with dual degrees in business and law.

His hopes of becoming an aviator didn’t fade with his injury, and this summer, after training at the annual Able Flight/Purdue University joint program, he earned his license and finally became an aviator, with his training supported by a grant from AOPA.

Andrew has been selected as the first recipient of the new AOPA/Able Flight Scholarship, and he’ll receive his Able Flight Wings at a ceremony at EAA AirVenture on July 30 at 11 a.m. on Phillips 66 Plaza. AOPA President Craig Fuller will do the honors as Andrew is honored along with five other new Able Flight pilots.

Able Flight, a national nonprofit that provides flight and career training opportunities for people with physical disabilities, is the only one of its kind in the United States.

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