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EAA Chapter 1093 Ray Scholar Clears Hurdles to Complete First Solo, FAA Knowledge Exam

By Jim Murphy, EAA 1117125, EAA Chapter 1093 Scholarship Coordinator

  • EAA
    Daniel Libbey, EAA 1222377, stands ready as flight instructor Pat Sisco prepares to remove the back of Daniel’s shirt following completion of his first solo.

June 2020 – Daniel Libbey, EAA 1222377, is a member of EAA Chapter 1093, home to the Midland Young Eagles. Raised in Gladwin, Michigan, with his three brothers, Daniel first became interested in flying when his mom drove the four boys to Midland to become Young Eagles. He was hooked, and in 2018 became a graduate of Chapter 1093's Summer Aviation Camp.

Daniel began flying in earnest when he was awarded a chapter scholarship. Since then, he has flown as often as part-time job funds, aircraft availability, and weather have allowed. Due to his interest in aviation and his dedication to flying, in February 2020 Daniel was awarded a Ray Aviation Scholarship. The door to serious flight training was now open for this 18-year-old who has just eight months to complete his solo, FAA written exam, cross-countries, and a check ride before turning 19. Plenty of time, we all thought.

With a few warm-up flights, he was soon ready to solo. Then, along came the COVID-19 crisis. The next three months were flight-free, so Daniel went through ground school again just to be sure he would be ready for the written. On May 20, just when the U.S. was taking the first steps to open businesses and return to activities, the Midland area was hit by catastrophic flooding. The impact on the area was widespread. Bridges were out, and major roads were closed. Flooding did not directly affect the airport, however, and a few days later more-or-less normal flight operations resumed. Daniel soloed on Memorial Day. The following day he successfully completed the written.

Daniel prefers to take life as it comes, but he has goals. These include becoming a CFI, then an ag pilot, then owner of his own aviation agriculture spraying company. All of us at EAA Chapter 1093 are happy to be here now to witness his progress and perseverance!

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