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EAA Flight Plan Just the Ticket for New Pilot

Mike Keck
New pilot Mike Keck is congratulated by DPE Dick Hanusa after his successful checkride July 12. Hanusa also serves EAA as flight ops safety program manager and runs the ConocoPhillips Plaza display area during AirVenture.

July 14, 2011 – Congratulations to Mike Keck, 17, of Oshkosh, who passed his checkride on July 12 after progressing through the EAA Young Eagles Flight Plan - from first flight to his private pilot certificate. Mike had a Young Eagles flight three years ago during an EAA Air Academy camp in the Young Eagles Glastar at Pioneer Airport. Through the Flight Plan, Young Eagles receive a free membership, free access to Sporty’s online Complete Flight Training Course, a free first flight lesson, and potential financial support to continue flight training.

Mike’s interest in aviation was kindled by AirVenture and later, R/C aircraft modeling, but it really took off after that Young Eagles flight. “It was really cool,” he recalled. “The pilot even let me fly the plane.”

As more elements were added to the EAA Young Eagles Flight Plan program, Mike would take advantage every step of the way. He was one of the first students to sign up for the Sporty’s online course, which he successfully completed. He was also among the first students to receive a free first flight lesson.

He went on to pass the FAA written exam last summer (the cost of which was reimbursed through the Flight Plan program). By passing his written, Mike became eligible to apply for an EAA flight training scholarship, also part of the Flight Plan program.

“Creating the next generation of aviators is one of EAA’s main initiatives,” said Brian O’Lena, EAA youth programs manager. “Mike’s success is a great example of how the Young Eagles Flight Plan can benefit young people who want to learn how to fly.”

Mike called the Sporty’s online program “awesome - one of the main reasons I was able to pass the FAA written exam,” he said. “It will also be a good reference for me during my future flight training.”

His mother, Janice, noticed a difference in her son when he began the Sporty’s program. “He was so focused and dedicated,” she said. “He would come home and spend four hours at a time studying the course. He passed the written exam thanks to Sporty’s.”

Obtaining his private ticket has opened a world of possibilities for Mike, who will be a senior at Oshkosh North High School in the fall. He intends to start on his instrument rating, and later work toward a seaplane rating. He wants to make his career in aviation, either through flying or designing airplanes. Another possibility that Mike mentioned is flying - helicopters or fixed-wing aircraft - for the U.S. Coast Guard.

In March he started working part-time job at Orion pumping gas, towing and parking planes, and performing other duties that will keep him close to aviation. AirVenture will definitely look a little different from that perspective, he said.

“It’s already starting to get busy,” he said.

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