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First EAA Sport Pilot Academy Huge Success

September 22, 2016 - All four pilots attending EAA’s first three-week-long Sport Pilot Academy passed their checkrides as the program wrapped up last week in Oshkosh. The Academy was introduced this year as a condensed sport pilot training program that would solve some of the challenges student pilots face when trying to schedule time with instructors and airplanes that have limited availability.

“It’s concentrated flying,” said John Cecilia, EAA 1121144, who began his light sport training in February 2014 and had close to 60 hours under his belt before attending the Sport Pilot Academy. “I’ve done more flying in the last three weeks than I’ve done in the past year and a half in terms of hours, so for retention and understanding, you really couldn’t beat this.”

Cecilia had been having difficulty scheduling lessons at his flight school prior to attending the Academy. After he was told by an instructor that at the rate he was going it would take two more years to earn his certificate, he began to look into other options.

“I had looked at some other ways of doing completion training and this was by far the best deal,” Cecilia said. “It was close to home, it was EAA, and it was a chance to see Oshkosh and the airport without half a million other people on it.”

Participants received personalized flight instruction in EAA’s fleet of Cessna 162 Skycatchers, food, and lodging, as well as only-in-Oshkosh experiences including behind-the-scenes museum tours and a flight in EAA’s B-17 Aluminum Overcast, for $9,999.

“Everyone said it was an amazing experience, more than they thought it would be,” said Kevin Loppnow, EAA’s chief pilot, who designed the Academy’s curriculum and served as one of the program’s four flight instructors. “Each one of the pilots said it was worth every penny.”

Plans for expanding the Sport Pilot Academy in 2017 are currently underway and will be announced in the coming months.

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