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EAA Milestones

  • Mack Dickson
    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.
  • Chris Miller
    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
    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!
  • 1,000 Hours of Fun
    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!
  • 11-19-15-Milestones
    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 Milestones
    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!
  • A New Pilot in the Family
    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!
  • EAA Milestones
    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.”
  • EAA Milestones
    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!
  • EAA Milestones
    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!
  • EAA Milestones
    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.
  • EAA Milestones
    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.
  • EAA Milestones
    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.
  • EAA Milestones
    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!
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