July 17, 2014 - Matt Callahan, EAA 863129, earned his private pilot certificate on June 30 following four weeks of intensive training with Tubreaux Aviation on Shreveport’s Downtown Airport in Louisiana. The Bellevue, Nebraska, student was the recipient of a complete private pilot training experience offered by Tubreaux to an EAA Young Eagle between the ages of 18 and 21.
“The entire experience was great,” the 18-year-old said. “The guys at Tubreaux were great. The weather was great. Of the four weeks I was there, there was only one day we couldn’t fly because of the weather.”
Matt was well-prepared for his checkride. “I was able to handle everything they threw at me,” he said. Earlier scheduled appointments had to be canceled because of lack of an available designated pilot examiner (DPE), and Matt’s checkride took place in Lafayette, Louisiana, where a DPE was available.
Wyche T. Coleman, Jr., EAA 351531, Tubreaux County Aviation’s co-owner, noticed right away that Matt was up to speed. “He was definitely well-prepared when he got here. He’s going to have a leg up on whatever he’s going to do.”
Matt said the online Sporty’s Learn to Fly Course was key to his preparation. It helped him pass the FAA knowledge test before heading to Shreveport, which allowed him to begin his flight training right away.
“It was really a great experience and I’m very thankful to be selected as the scholarship recipient,” Matt said. “The first year (of college) is largely devoted to getting a private pilot certificate, but now I can go right into instrument training and other ratings. It puts me a step ahead in the program.” He will attend the University of Nebraska-Omaha Aviation Institute and major in aviation-professional flight with hope of becoming a professional pilot.
After he passed his checkride Coleman and Jeremy Williams, chief pilot for Tubreaux Aviation, took Matt up in a Super Cub on floats so he could get a taste of some seaplane flying. “I learned a lot from the folks at Tubreaux–not only about flying, but also about life and their experiences,” Matt said.
Coleman said that providing a flight training experience was something he wanted to do as a gift to EAA, and also a way to pay back all the guidance and mentorship he received early in life from aviation legend Marion Cole, who taught him how to fly.
“He (Cole) spent so much time with me, so training a kid to fly for free was a cool thing to do,” he said.
Tubreaux County Aviation will attend the annual EAA Gathering of Eagles fundraising event at AirVenture Oshkosh Thursday, July 31, and has invited Matt to join them.