Zenith Aircraft Co.
ZENITH AIRCRAFT AT WORK AROUND THE WORLD
'Airport Kids' Are Alive and Well At Falcon Wings (EAA Chapter 229)
In May 1995, we started our ZODIAC kit with 18 "airport kids" and some 25 or so "old timer" trainers. Chapter 229 furnished half the dollars required for the program, spending its entire treasury. Donors and Falcon Wings supporters furnished the balance. Manufacturers in the latter category were very helpful in supplying much-needed equipment either at cost or on a no charge basis.
Now that our ZODIAC is completed and flying, we are now at the stage of completing our goal of training our Airport Kids - ground school, flight training and solo to private license. Seven of our kids will be private pilots while the other eleven will fly to the point of solo (age restrictions prevent them from soloing - 16 years old).
We are not attempting to make airline pilots out of these kids, but we do realize in time they will build and fly their own planes as well as this ZODIAC they have built. The training and discipline they have learned here is unlike any other they may have received.
Our local FBO donated a trainer for our first two youths. One, "Andy," has 22 hours while the second had two hours. Andy has soloed and is preparing for his private pilot license. He feels if it were not for the Falcon Wings program he would never have experienced flight and would not be planning a career in aerospace.
It is our desire, when the current program is completed, to purchase another ZODIAC kit to train another group of youths. With current funding, we will have to build, fly kids to private license, then sell the kit in order to purchase another one.
The only cost to us for each participant to earn a pilot's license is fuel cost, or some $400 per individual at current fuel prices (while the same would cost up to $3000 at a flight school). We have five certified flight instructors who are donating their time.
We will need additional funding to continue with the program. Were it not for support of our initial supporters we would never have accomplished this ambitious program.
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NOTE: This article represents the viewpoints of the author, and not necessarily those of Zenith Aircraft Company.
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