Sporty's Pilot Shop Celebrates 50 Years of Teaching People to Fly
Hal Shevers (center) with Jeff Skiles and Mac McClellan during the Sporty’s Open House on May 21.
May 19, 2011 — Sporty's Pilot Shop hosted its annual fly-in on Saturday in honor of both International Learn to Fly Day, and the 50th anniversary of the founding of Sporty's. The flying conditions were perfect at Sporty's home airport at Batavia, Ohio, just east of Cincinnati, and more than 200 pilots flew in for the day. Many more arrived in cars, and even on the airlines, to join the party.
Cessna had a new turbo 206 and a Caravan single-engine turboprop with an executive Oasis interior on display. Many pilot supply and component makers such as Garmin, Bose, Lycoming, and others had exhibits to show their newest products and services. And EAA had a Young Eagles exhibit with Young Eagles co-chairman Jeff Skiles on hand to shake hands and sign autographs.
Sporty's traces its roots to founder Hal Shevers’ development of weekend ground study courses to prepare pilots to take FAA written exams, and the company has maintained an emphasis on flight training for all of its 50 years. Sporty's now offers courses on DVD or over the Internet, and the company is one of the most enthusiastic supporters of the EAA Young Eagles program. Upon the completion of their flights all Young Eagles are given a personal logbook supplied by Sporty's, and also are presented with an access code so they can study Sporty's online pilot training course to prepare for the sport pilot certificate, and the private pilot certificate. The EAA and Sporty's program is considered the next step on the new Young Eagles Flight Plan because it is designed to move a young person from his or her introductory flight into the left seat as a full-fledged pilot.
Several speakers, including Jeff Skiles and EAA Sport Aviation Editor-at-Large Mac McClellan, congratulated Hal Shevers on 50 years of success with Sporty's, and each thanked Hal for his tremendous generosity in supporting general aviation and the effort to attract more people to flying.