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80-Year-Old Grandpa Earns Sport Pilot Certificate

Ben Palmer

Ben Palmer fulfilled a lifelong dream when he earned his sport pilot certificate October 17 through the Chesapeake Sport Pilot flight school in Stevensville, Maryland. The 80-year-old grandpa had longed to fly since 1951 when he had served as a radar technician in the Air Force on a B-25. When he completed his military service, he applied for flight school through the GI Bill, but all slots were full.

Finally in 2007, after raising a son and two granddaughters and a successful career with General Electric, Ben learned about the sport pilot certificate. It requires less time and less money than a traditional private pilot certificate and allows the pilot to fly two-seat sport airplanes and carry one passenger using a driver’s license instead of a traditional FAA medical certificate. It was exactly the type of flying he was looking for.

“I have flown with a number of different instructors at Chesapeake Sport Pilot,” said Ben. “I am especially indebted to my primary instructor, Helen Woods, who is not only a great instructor, she is patient, pointed out my shortcomings and my pluses, and has a great sense of humor. She made flying fun while instructing me. She is also a good friend.”

Looking back on his training, Ben most fondly remembers his first solo flight and the exhilaration of passing his final flight test. He’s looking forward to taking his friends and family flying this fall. Chesapeake Sport Pilot is the largest light-sport flight school in the country with seven modern airplanes, 18 highly experienced instructors, and about 65 students actively enrolled in instruction at any given time. The school offers sport pilot, private pilot, and sport pilot flight instructor training and plans to offer seaplane training next year. For more information call 410-604-1717 or visit www.ChesapeakeSportPilot.com.


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