First solo: Matt Ferrari

Matt Ferrari at his day job, just after landing in Luxembourg

The day started out normal, another flying lesson, the same maneuvers I’d been practicing, nothing out of the ordinary. Flying back to the airport my instructor handed me the microphone prompting me to get an airport advisory. Without much choice, I said “Brainerd Unicom, Cessna 757 Echo Yankee, 10 miles out to the South, inbound for landing, airport advisory please.”

To a greenhorn, trying to talk and fly at the same time is no small task. [Read more…]

Fulfilling dreams with Able Flight


Teaching someone to fly is always a challenge. Now imagine that the person you are teaching is disabled.

It happens every day, thanks to Able Flight, a non-profit organization founded in 2006 by Charles Stites, a pilot who believes that the life-changing experience of learning to fly is best shared, which is why he created an organization to award scholarships to help people with disabilities pursue flight training.

[Read more…]

Flying the Sky Arrow with hand controls


Many years ago, when I was working as a television news reporter, I spent a day in a wheelchair so that I could get an idea of what it was like to be disabled for a story on the American With Disabilities Act. I remember how challenging it was to use a water fountain, get in and out of a car or an elevator, even maneuver in an office. These were all things I did everyday without thinking. I wondered if I would have a similar experience if I flew the Sky Arrow 600 with hand controls.

[Read more…]

From student to mentor

This may not seem to be a column about politics, but it is. Because ultimately politics is the art of people interacting with other people in order to get something done. Based on that, flight instruction falls well within the realm of politics. And just like politics in the governmental sense, the politics of flight instruction can be both as uplifting and as infuriating as the Washington D.C. variety so often is.

[Read more…]