April 17, 2014 - Able Flight, an organization that offers flight training scholarships to people with disabilities, has awarded a record nine new scholarships in 2014 with six recipients set to begin their training in May at Purdue University’s Department of Aviation Technology. Another recipient has completed a career training course, and two others are upgrading existing pilot certificates.
When they arrive at Purdue on May 20, the six student pilots will immediately begin flight and ground training programs leading to a sport pilot certificate. This year’s class includes wounded veterans Jason Gibson of Ohio, a veteran who lost both legs to an IED in Afghanistan in 2012; veteran Chris Sullivan of Louisiana, paralyzed by a sniper’s bullet during service in Iraq in 2005; Ellen Howards of Massachusetts, who was born with a congenital spinal condition that over the years has required multiple surgeries and has her partially paralyzed; veteran Curtis Stanley, who lost his left arm due to an accident occurring while he was in the service; Daniel Clayton of Pennsylvania paralyzed due to injuries from an auto accident in 2011; and Tim Klemm of Illinois, who was paralyzed due to an auto accident in 2003.
In addition, wounded veterans Ryan Kelly of Texas and Adam Kisielewski of Maryland have been awarded scholarships to transition to higher level pilot certificates. And with his Able Flight Career Training Scholarship, Tyrell Rhodes of Illinois recently completed training at Flight Safety International to earn certification as a corporate scheduler/dispatcher. They are certificated pilots and previous recipients of Able Flight scholarships.
“This will be our fifth year partnering with Purdue to provide an outstanding flight training experience for our students,” said Able Flight’s Charles Stites. “When they arrive there, they’ll discover not only a welcoming and supportive atmosphere, but will quickly begin an intensive and demanding program designed to challenge them every day.”
Able Flight scholarships have helped create 35 certificated pilots, 33 of them sport pilots and two private pilots. The organization was first publicized at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2005 and awarded its first scholarships the following year.