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EAAers Help Embry Riddle Get Back Up And Running

January 4 , 2007 — Thanks to an outpouring of aircraft offers from EAAers, flight schools, Cessna dealers, and others, Embry Riddle Aeronautical University (ERAU) will be fully operational on January 16. That's a remarkable feat, considering its training aircraft fleet was virtually wiped out by two destructive tornados that ripped though the ERAU campus in Daytona Beach, Florida, on Christmas Day.

On Thursday, December 28, EAA sent out a special e-Hotline to inform members of the disaster and ask for assistance in replacing the school's training fleet through leasing and rental arrangements.

"The response has been overwhelming," said Frank Ayers, Embry Riddle flight department chairman. "The morning after the EAA e-mail came out, I probably had 100 responses at 9 a.m., 50 of which were from EAA members, and it was like that for two to three days. We're just very glad to have EAA's help, and we were really moved by that response.

"Because of the efforts of EAA as well as our friends from Cessna, who went out to their Cessna Pilot Centers and their dealer network, we're going to have a full fleet on the 16th, which is downright nothing short of amazing."

Ayers, EAA 680479, said all 40 of the airplanes that were destroyed are in the process of being replaced, plus they'll have some extra aircraft in reserve.

"We're getting airplanes from other flight schools, from dealers, from EAA members, we have probably 9 or 10 individuals making airplanes available to us," he said. "Thanks to all the EAA members from us; we really appreciate the help."

Rick Larsen, EAA's vice president of marketing and an Embry-Riddle alumnus, wasn't surprised by the outpouring of support from EAA members to meet an aviation need.

"It shows again what EAA and its members are all about," Larsen said. "We at EAA headquarters simply made the need known to our fellow members and they energized the response. EAA members know schools such as Embry Riddle represent the future of aviation and immediately stepped forward to assist."

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