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12/29/2016 - Congratulations to 16-year-old Declan Steinke, EAA 1112757, who soloed November 15 in the RV-12 Falcon 1 he helped build. Declan received his first Young Eagles flight two years ago with Chapter 414 of Lake County, Illinois, and his mother said that flight set the path for his future. He participated in the RV-12 build though the STEM club at his high school, which is sponsored by Eagles Nest Projects. In October, Declan also became the youngest Rotax maintenance mechanic in the country after completing a certification course at Leading Edge Airfoils in Burlington, Wisconsin. Now, Declan has passed his written and is waiting to turn 17 so he can pass his checkride and start flying other Young Eagles. Congratulations again, Declan, on these numerous accomplishments, and good luck as you continue to pursue your aviation passions!
12/21/2016 - Congratulations to Lt. Col. Kenneth Sines, EAA 453045, who flew his 1,800th Young Eagle at Chapter 677’s November 26 Young Eagles rally. Ken is heavily involved in his chapter’s Young Eagles program, having served as the coordinator for a number of years. He’s flown his PA-28-140 in the last 51 of 59 consecutive monthly rallies held by Chapter 677 and has flown the most Young Eagles of anyone in the chapter. In 2014 the chapter recognized Ken as its “Chapter Energizer Bunny” and unanimously elected him to be its first— and only, to date — chapter “Life Member.” Congratulations again, Ken, on this huge accomplishment, and thank you for your dedication to sharing aviation with the next generations!
12/15/16 - Congratulations to Randy Hock, EAA 1199280, who passed his private pilot checkride on November 2 at Tallahassee International Airport (KTLH) in Florida. Randy has been to EAA AirVenture Oshkosh twice, volunteering with the airplane parking efforts. He is excited to fly in to Oshkosh for the first time for AirVenture 2017 and said he plans to continue that tradition for the rest of his flying career. In addition, Randy’s wife recently started taking flying lessons, too. Congratulations again, Randy, and welcome to the pilot community!
12/7/16 - Congratulations to Will C. Buck III, EAA 884321, who flew his 50th Young Eagle on November 26 at Chapter 677’s Thanksgiving weekend rally. Will is a wonderful example of Young Eagles paying it forward and sharing aviation in their communities; he took his own Young Eagle flight in 2004 when he was 9 years old. Will is now a senior at The Citadel military college. Congratulations again, Will, and thank you for helping to keep the spirit of aviation alive in your community!
12/1/16 - Congratulations to Diego Johnston, EAA 1168229, who passed his checkride back in May at the Grand Central Airport in Johannesburg, South Africa, at age 17. Diego and his family are U.S. citizens who have been living in South Africa for the past three years while his dad works for the Ford Motor Company. It was there that Diego took his first flight lesson at age 15 and soloed a Cessna 172 at 16, so his training came full circle when he earned his South Africa CAA private pilot license. He has since started working on his complex aircraft endorsement in a Piper Turbo Arrow, has taken an introductory glider lesson, and plans to attend a four-year professional pilot program at a university in the United States in fall 2017. His passion for aviation has not only transferred to his younger brother, Marco, but has also inspired his father to return to flying as a hobby. Congratulations again, Diego, on this thrilling accomplishment, and fair skies and tailwinds as you continue in your aviation endeavors.
11/22/16 - Congratulations to EAA staffer Hal Bryan, EAA 638979, for completing his first Pilots N Paws rescue flight on November 12. Hal flew from Oshkosh to Jasper County, Indiana, to pick up two 3-year-old hounds that were en route from an overcrowded shelter in Kentucky. “Going into it I was very much caught up in the details,” he said. “Planning a cross-country flight through and around some complex and busy airspace, flying to an unfamiliar airport, figuring out how the dog crates would fit. It wasn’t really until we were back in Oshkosh and handed them off that I stopped and really felt the emotional impact of it.” Hal said the dogs were a little skittish at first, but warmed up quickly and were quiet and well-behaved while in the air. He said the flight was a unique and rewarding experience and hopes to do it again. “This was the first time I had ever flown specifically to save lives. This was the most gratifying flight I’ve ever had.”
11/17/16 - Congratulations to Austin Hayes, EAA 1072490, of Minnesota, who earned his pilot certificate on September 20 at 17 years old. Austin is carrying on the aviation tradition in his family — his grandfather built airplanes and his father has been a pilot for nearly 20 years. He has had a lifelong love for aviation, sharing his passion with many of his schoolteachers over the years, who in turn challenged him to learn more about flying and the science behind it. Now Austin has been accepted to Minnesota State University, Mankato’s professional aviation program, where he will pursue his goal of becoming a professional pilot. His younger sister, who is 13 years old, is also currently taking glider lessons. Congratulations again, Austin, on this milestone achievement, and thank you for sharing your love of flying with others in your community!
11/10/16 - Congratulations to 16-year-old Justin McDowell, EAA 1174050, who completed his first solo October 31 in a Cessna 172 on floats off of Whitewater Lake in northern Ontario. Although he went into the day understandably nervous, he said once he completed the run up and pushed full throttle he felt like he was home. “During the taxi back to the dock I could hardly contain my excitement,” Justin said. “I was on my way to becoming a pilot! Overall, my solo flight was one of the best experiences of my life and I cannot wait to soar through the sky again.” Congratulations again, Justin, on this exciting accomplishment! We at EAA can’t wait to see where your wings take you next.
10/27/2016 - Congratulations to Phil Pozer, EAA 1168414, who passed his checkride in a Cessna 172 on October 11, in Brantford, Ontario. He followed up the flight by ringing the celebratory bell at the Brantford Flying Club — a tradition for all of the club’s new pilots. The week after he earned his certificate Phil got to celebrate once again, this time by taking his wife out for their first flight together. His next endeavor is to complete his BK1 Flier build project. Congratulations again, Phil, on this exciting achievement, and welcome to the pilot community!
10/20/16 - Congratulations to EAA staffer Emily Noack for completing her first solo flight at 18 hours on October 14 at Wittman Regional Airport in the EAA Employee Flying Club’s Cessna 172. Emily, EAA 848998, said after flying around the pattern a few times with her instructor Elton Eisele, EAA 216273, he took over the controls and taxied off the runway. At first Emily thought he was just going to give her feedback on the ground but then Elton said she was ready for solo and called tower, requesting to get out of the airplane on the AirVenture grounds. “I sat there in disbelief for a moment before I said it’s time to go,” she said. “I didn’t even hesitate when I pushed in full throttle and was off the ground faster than ever before. I returned from my patterns and picked up my instructor and headed back to the hangar pretty much in tears because I was so happy.” October 14 was truly a triumphant day for Emily, and the rest of us at EAA could not be more proud of her!
9/21/16 - Congratulations to Olivia Rasmussen and Nicole Jackson, who both earned their pilot certificates, in an airplane they built together, two days before leaving home for their freshman year of college. The girls were both involved in the STEM Aviation Program and Eagle’s Nest Projects at Westosha Central High School in Salem, Wisconsin. Eagle’s Nest Projects program director Jim Senft said the task of building an airplane helps instill an invaluable combination of skills and a focus on teamwork in students. Both girls said their involvement in the program helped them choose career paths in aviation. “Throughout the build of Falcon One, I was exposed to real life engineering applications that further inspired me to pursue a degree in engineering,” said Olivia, who is enrolled in the mechanical engineering major at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. “I was also introduced, quite unforgettably, to the world of aviation as I never would have imagined before, both through the build and getting my license.” Nicole is currently enrolled at the Milwaukee School of Engineering, pursuing a degree in aerospace and electrical engineering. “The experience I received from Eagle’s Nest Projects helped me decide that I would like to work with the design of airplanes and become an aerospace engineer,” she said. “My first solo flight and my check ride were an incredible experience. It really is one of those things where you just smile and think that that really just happened!” Congratulations again, Olivia and Nicole, and best of luck as you begin building your futures in aviation!
9/8/2016 - Congratulations to Aly Bond, EAA 1164764, for achieving her CFI certificate at just 18 years of age. Aly earned all of her preceding privileges – private and commercial certificates, instrument rating, and high performance endorsement – and found time to volunteer for Pilots N Paws while still in high school, another impressive accomplishment. As of December 2015, only 6 percent of flight instructors in the U.S. were women, and last year only three women age 19 or younger earned their CFI. Aly graduated cum laude from high school earlier this year and will begin attending Ohio State University this fall to study aerospace engineering. Congratulations again, Aly, on all of your accomplishments thus far, and good luck in your future endeavors!
9/1/16 - Congratulations to 17-year-old Tyler Lewis, EAA 1082622, who passed his checkride on August 28 in a 1974 Cessna Cardinal. Tyler took his first Young Eagles flight at 12 years old and later began cleaning hangars, washing airplanes, and running a coffee and doughnut concession to pay for flying lessons. He also attended EAA’s summer Air Academy in 2014 and 2015. Tyler joins the pilot ranks with his father, who in 2013 became the first person from EAA’s Eagle Flights program to earn a pilot’s certificate. Congratulations again, Tyler, on this awesome accomplishment!
7/20/2016 - Congratulations to Cory Puuri of EAA headquarters’ membership development staff for earning his private pilot certificate! Puuri began flight training in November and is excited to share his newfound freedom with his family. “The first thing I want to do is take my youngest daughter up,” Puuri said. “She wants to be a missionary pilot someday so she’s really been encouraging me every day, which has been great. Then I want to take my wife up since she’s never flown in a small aircraft, she’s pretty excited to go as well.”
7/13/2016 - Congratulations to EAA Chapter 156 of Williamsburg, Virginia, which celebrated its 50th anniversary at a gathering on June 30. Cake was shared as part of the commemoration. Pictured left to right are chapter members Robert E. Lee, John Beal, Buz Rich, Chuck Curtis, Dick Wallis, Steve Satava, Tim McSwain, and Ted Cool. We at headquarters hope the celebration was grand and thank you for 50 wonderful years of chapter participation. EAA would not be the organization it is without you!
7/7/16 - Congratulations to EAA’s Social Media and Community Manager Glory Aulik, EAA 1186242, who soloed on July 6 after 20 hours of instruction. She faced a few obstacles in those first 20 hours, including bad weather and a flat tire, but she powered through it all until her instructor, Elton Eisle, surprised her by saying she was ready for her solo. “The experience was empowering and has made me feel more confident in my flying already,” Glory said. “My favorite part has been sharing this moment with everyone around me — I can’t stop beaming with all of the congratulations and kind words from friends, family, and co-workers!” Congratulations again, Glory! You’ve made EAA proud!
6/9/16 - A Stearman Model 70, the only one of its kind, flew for the first time since the early 1940s on May 31, 2016, after a full restoration by The Western Antique Airplane and Automobile Museum. This airplane is an important part of history because the Model 70 served as the prototype for the World War II trainer, the Stearman Model 75. Test pilots Addison Pemberton and Ryan Pemberton reported a nearly flawless flight and said, “in many ways, the Model 70 is a nicer flying airplane than the PT17.” Congratulations to all who worked to preserve this important piece of history and made this neat flight a success!
5/25/16 - The Western Antique Automobile and Airplane Museum (WAAAM) flew their 1930 WACO primary glider on their second Saturday event, May 13, 2016. Pilot Marci Reid reported that the glider was quite controllable but that pitch was hard to gauge with no visual forward reference. Photo credit: A. Cleveland
Photo by Shawn St. Hilaire/Fosters.com. May 5, 2016 - Congratulations and a big thank you go out to Kenn Ortmann, EAA 748633, for not only achieving his private pilot certificate post-retirement, but also for using his passion for flight to help others. Ortmann decided to get his pilot’s certificate and bought an airplane shortly after turning 50. Once certificated, he began to use his passion for flight to give back to the community. Ortmann now volunteers his airplane and flight services to Angel Flight, PALS (Patient Airlift Services), and EAA’s own Young Eagles program. Ortmann’s achievement was also the subject of an online news story at Fosters.com. Congratulations again on your accomplishments, Kenn, and thank you for showing people what the spirit of aviation is all about!
May 4, 2016 -Congratulations to Gary Jacobsen, EAA 1139601, for passing his checkride at 59 years of age! Jacobsen attended ground school over the course of 28 months and logged 133 hours in flight training before passing his checkride on the first attempt. His aviation goals for the future include instrument training and purchasing a Piper Arrow. “Students out there, don’t get discouraged or give up,” Jacobsen said. “Fly as often as you can to keep your mojo going forward and read/study/fly to your own certificate at your own comfortable pace.”
April 27, 2016 - Congratulations to Adam Martin, who recently earned his private pilot’s certificate on March 12—his 17th birthday! Adam’s father, Oren Martin, EAA 1143084, said shortly before turning 14 Adam started expressing an interest in flying. His parents bought him a set of learn-to-fly videos and textbooks for his 14th birthday and a few months later surprised him with the opportunity to take a flying lesson. “Near lesson’s end while taxiing up the tarmac back to starting point, a huge smile could be seen on his face,” Oren said. “When he got out of the aircraft we handed him a logbook and said learn well and good luck.” Adam’s future goals include earning an instrument rating and selecting an aviation college. “His parents hope he would work on his driver’s license so he can get himself to the airport, five miles away,” Oren said. Congratulations, again, Adam, and good luck as you continue to pursue your aviation dreams!
4/21/2016 - Congratulations to Michael O’Mara, EAA 1105399, who finally fulfilled his lifelong dream of earning his private pilot certificate. Michael said when he was a child during the 1950s, he was taken by aviation. In his teens he saved up money to take flight lessons and soloed when he was 18. After that, he said, life got in the way and he was not able to get back to his desire to fly until reaching retirement. Two years ago, he earned his certificate. What makes this milestone even more exciting is that Michael’s earning his pilot certificate brought another person to the aviation community. “As I saw my grown son interested as I was taking lessons, I encouraged him to do so, and six months after me, he earned his private pilot’s [certificate]!” he said. The pair now owns a 1974 Piper Warrior, does volunteer flying for Pilots N Paws, and said they are enjoying the aviation life immensely. Congratulations to the both of you!
April 13, 2016 - Congratulations to EAA’s own Cory Puuri, who soloed successfully on March 30, despite some mildly challenging wind conditions. Winds started off around 8 knots that morning and, by the time Cory had performed his first touch and go, picked up to 13 knots and gusting into the 20s. All of us here at EAA headquarters were excited to hear Cory’s good news. “I don’t think I stopped smiling all day,” Cory said. “It’s not easy to stop smiling when your email box is flooded with co-workers, most of them pilots, congratulating you and sharing their understanding of that feeling you get when you’re airborne for the first time, just you and your plane.”
April 6, 2016 - Kevin Collette wanted to earn his pilot’s certificate before earning his driver’s license. He got his wish on October 18, 2015, when he earned his pilot’s license at 17 years old. He started driver’s education on October 19. Kevin comes from a family in which aviation is tradition, with his pilot dad, Murray, and his great-grandfather, John Ross, who was a pilot as early as 1927. Kevin has been flying to Oshkosh with his dad for many years as a special father-son tradition. He has volunteered many times with Young Eagles, as well as in the Vintage area during AirVenture. Kevin is looking into colleges and possibly a career in aviation or aeronautical engineering. Congratulations, Kevin, and best wishes for your future in aviation!
March 30, 2016 - Congratulations to 17-year-old Aaron Kischnick who earned his private pilot certificate on March 26 in a Cessna 172 less than one year after taking an introductory Young Eagle flight in June 2015. Aaron’s flight instructor, Linda Langrill, CFII, said after Aaron’s Young Eagle flight he worked hard on his ground school lessons earning an introductory flight lesson with Linda in August. Seven months later, he was ready to earn his certificate. When Aaron returned to Clare Municipal Airport at the end of his checkride, a crowd of his family and friends were there to greet him with cheers. Congratulations again, Aaron, on this exciting accomplishment!
March 23, 2016 - Congratulations to Phil Groshong, EAA 710776, who was awarded the FAA Wright Brothers Master Pilot Award in a presentation at Mahlon Sweet Field Airport in Eugene, Oregon. The award, presented by Curt Cowley of the Portland, Oregon, FSDO, is given to pilots “who have demonstrated professionalism, skill, and aviation expertise by maintaining safe operations for 50 or more years.” Groshong saw military service as a pilot in Vietnam, followed by a long career with United Airlines, flying 727s, 777s, and every type in between. He now flies a Lancair Legacy 2000 he built himself.
March 3, 2016 - Congratulations to Howard Riley, EAA 394602, of Gross Pointe Park, Michigan, on the first flight of his World Aircraft Spirit LSA, a kit that he finished a month after his 80th birthday! Riley’s wife gave him flying lessons for Christmas when he was 60, and then he started seaplane training when he was 64. Riley said that he is “fortunate to have good health and still maintain my third-class medical.” And we’re all fortunate to know such an inspirational builder and pilot. Well done, Howard!
Congratulations to Bob Coverdill, EAA 862708, for earning his pilot certificate at just less than 60 years old! Bob’s father served as a pilot during World War II in the U.S. Army Air Force Ferry Command. After a B-24 crash in England, his father’s leg was amputated, but Bob said that didn’t stop him sharing his love of aviation. Bob carried his father’s logbooks with him on his checkride, and he said achieving his pilot certificate was a lifelong dream, fulfilled.
February 17, 2016 - Congratulations to 19-year-old Will Long for passing his checkride at just more than 40 hours, following a solo at seven hours! Will, whose grandfather flew Hellcats during World War II and whose father has worked for United Airlines for 28 years, is carrying on family tradition in more ways than one: He learned to fly in the same Cessna 140 that his father trained in. Currently, Will is spending his time as a load master with an Air Force Reserve unit in Colorado. His hope is to one day become an Air Force pilot. Congratulations again, Will, and good luck as you continue working toward your goals.
January 21, 2016 - Congratulations to Mack Dickson from EAA headquarters’ government advocacy department on achieving his second first solo flight! Dickson began working toward his pilot’s certificate a few years ago but had to put his training on hold. This time around, with only three hours under his belt, Dickson has soloed again! Congratulations again, Mack, on this exciting accomplishment, and here’s to continuing to reach your goals.
December 22, 2015 - Congratulations to Chris Miller, EAA Lifetime 567600, who won Aviation Week & Space Technology’s 2015 photo contest “Best of the Best” award for this photograph he took of the B-29 Superfortress FIFI during AirVenture 2015. Some of Miller’s photography has been published in recent issues of EAA’s Sport Aviation, and we extend warm compliments to him for this exciting achievement.
12/3/15 - Congratulations to Paul Salmon, EAA 792621, of Cape Girardeau, Missouri, for resetting the world record for distance without landing in a gyroplane with a 1,027 mile (1,653 kilometer) flight. Salmon spent the majority of his flight from El Paso, Texas to Cape Girardeau at 7,500 feet. The previous record holder was Andy Keech, with a distance of 879 miles (1,414 kilometers). Congratulations again, Salmon, on this exciting accomplishment!
Congratulations to James R Withrow Jr, EAA 605759, who just passed 1,000 hours of flying time in his homebuilt Murphy Rebel. Withrow started the project in 1998, and completed it after 1,400 hours of building in just 14 months. “I am now looking forward to my next milestone, to fly it as many hours as I spent building it,” Withrow said, and added “Thank you EAA for helping all of us members achieve our dreams and freedoms to build and fly our own aircraft.” Thank you, James for sharing your story and inspiring all of us to keep building and flying. Well done!
Congratulations to Drew Medina of Vero Beach, Florida, who recently flew his first solo after being awarded with the Flying Musicians Association’s first Solo Scholarship Award. FMA’s Solo Program awards a scholarship that provides flight training through the first solo to high school musicians with a passion for aviation. Medina, a saxophone player in Vero Beach High School’s jazz, symphonic and marching bands, soloed in an Archer III, the same model his father soloed in before Medina was born. He said his focus overcame any feelings of nervousness during the flight. “When I started down the runway, I was thinking, ‘Here we go,’” Medina said. “If you look at the video, you can see that for the entire time, I was stone cold and expressionless. I was having the time of my life, but I was so focused.” Currently a senior in high school, Medina said he hopes to get his pilot’s certificate before the end of the school year. Congratulations again and good luck as you continue working toward your pilot’s certificate!
10/29/15 - Congratulations to Tom Rhines, EAA 424948, on instructing three generations of pilots and making aviation a family tradition. Tom said after earning his CFI in 1984, he helped his father, Mike, EAA 1121295, get his pilot’s certificate. Tom also instructed his wife, Gayle, from her first solo, and she is now an ATP and a pilot for American Airlines. His son, Justin, completed his first solo on his 16th birthday on Oct. 7. Thank you, Tom, for your commitment to spreading the spirit of aviation!
10/22/15 - Congratulations to McKenzie Griffin, EAA 1031176, who earned her pilot’s certificate on October 5 at 18 years of age! What makes this milestone even more special is that McKenzie’s father Kevin, EAA 1031174, was her flight instructor. McKenzie is enrolled in the Air Traffic Control program at the Community College of Beaver County in Monaca, Pennsylvania, and she hopes to start working on an instrument rating next year. Congratulations again, McKenzie, and good luck in your future endeavors!
10/15/2015 - Congratulations to EAA’s own Emily Noack, EAA 848998, whose Aeronca Champ was completed and flown for the first time on Sunday, October 11! Emily bought the Champ midway through its build in May 2014. Her mother, Tracy Noack, helped complete the covering of the wings and fuselage, and Emily credits her friend Justin Spence with the majority of the assembly and painting work. Emily, age 23, said Justin, also age 23, piloted the Champ for its first flight, and they were thrilled to have finally finished the project. “I’m just glad to have had the chance to experience the build process in general,” Emily said. “I honestly cried when I watched [the Champ] fly away.”
10/8/2015 - Congratulations to Pat Groves, EAA 1104291; Robert Lasecki, EAA 67676; and Tom Whisnant, EAA 414191, who all were recently honored with the FAA’s Wright Brothers Master Pilot Award! The award is presented to pilots who have reached 50 years of accident-free flying. Groves first soloed in 1965 and later became a professional pilot at 49 years of age. Lasecki has a commercial license and has flown almost 350 children through the Young Eagles program. Whisnant is a veteran flight instructor and commercial pilot. Thank you all for promoting safe flying practices and for your many years of participation in the aviation community!
10/1/2015 - Ed Lachendro, EAA 238880 and the first executive director of our Young Eagles program, has plenty of reasons to be proud this week. First, Ed’s son Ben soloed a J-3 Cub on his 16th birthday. Then, just a few days later, Ed’s 17-year-old son Luke, EAA 21131, passed his private pilot checkride. Ben described his flight as “fun” and then said that he “…can’t wait to start cross-country flying.” Luke’s first passenger after his checkride was his mother, and then he took his friend Isaiah for a flight. “Being a private pilot didn’t hit me until I was giving my best friend a ride. Having someone with you who’s not a pilot…having them by your side flying, is just amazing, the feeling is unreal.” Congratulations to Ben and Luke!
9/24/2015 - Congratulations to Randy Epstein, president of EAA’s Chapter 690, for giving a successful Eagle Flight that led to the aviation community gaining a new certified private pilot. His friend Charles contacted him in February showing an interest in learning to fly. Randy took Charles for an Eagle Flight on February 11 and introduced him to a chapter member who is a CFII and a member of a flying club with a Cessna 172. Charles had his first lesson on April 14 of this year and earned his private pilot’s certificate on August 13. Thank you, Randy, for showing how powerful sharing the gift of flight can be.
9/17/2015 - Congratulations to EAA’s own Kyle Voltz, who passed his checkride and earned his commercial pilot certificate on September 9! “It’s been a long road working on the certificate little by little on my own, so it’s kind of surreal to actually have completed the checkride and have the certificate in my pocket,” Voltz said. “There are a lot of people who helped and encouraged me along the way who I owe immensely. The feeling of accomplishment is incredible.” Voltz is using this certification as a stepping stone to becoming a CFI. He has given many Young Eagle and Eagle flights, and at the request of a few people he’s flown, he’s excited to get certified so he can teach those people to fly.
9/10/2015 - Congratulations to Hernandes Spinola, EAA 1159005, who recently passed his checkride despite obstacles including his first instructor moving to another state, and having back surgery last winter. “I passed my checkride on July 19 this year, two hours cross-country flight from home, all by myself, with 50.9 recent hours, 62 hours total, fulfilling my lifetime dream and making me feel alive and kicking at the age of 53,” Spinola said.
9/3/2015 - Congratulations to EAA museum educator Tara Parkhurst who passed her checkride this week and earned her private pilot’s certificate! “Learning to fly has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life!” Tara said. “It took some time, but it was totally worth it. Big thanks to my friends and co-workers at EAA for all of their support and encouragement!”
Have you reached a milestone recently? Passed a checkride, given your first or hundredth Young Eagle flight, flown your homebuilt for the first time? Tell us about it at