Rating: 5 stars 53 53 reviews 4,977
Chapel Hill NC USA
Able Flight's mission is to offer people with disabilities a unique way to challenge themselves through flight and aviation career training, and by doing so, to gain greater self-confidence and self-reliance.
Able Flight was founded in June of 2006, and awarded its first flight training scholarships in December of 2006. Since then it has awarded over 60 scholarships, and forty seven recipients are now licensed pilots. Beginning in 2010, Able Flight partnered with Purdue University on a annual joint flight training program. To date, 27 students have attended with all seventeen earning their pilot licenses, a 100% success rate! In 2011 Able Flight began awarding Aviation Career Training Scholarships, and as of August 2015 has awarded eleven career training scholarships..
Able Flight serves a diverse population of people with disabilities, including, but not limited to, those with spinal cord injuries, wounded and disabled veterans, and those with Cerebral Palsy, MS, and loss of limb(s).
Geographic areas served:
Flight Training Scholarships Aviation Career Training Scholarships Scholarships for wounded veterans
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Reviews for Able Flight
As a recipient of this scholarship, it's hard to find the exact words to describe this incredible program. I would have never imagine the impact this program had on my life. Something in me changed during the process. In a world set around the needs of other, deceiving my people with limits and constraints, AbleFlight is one of those programs that stand apart helping breaking through the shackles that a disability seems to bring. My time learning to fly was one of the most exciting experience that life has offered. I can't say thank you enough for that opportunity. I always told to reach for the stars. AbleFlight put me in the clouds (figuratively). I'm not allowed to fly in the clouds but you understand what I mean!!
This company goes above and beyond all expectations! They have helped my husband have an opportunity to fulfill his dream of being a corporate pilot. He has been an instructor for many years and shared his passion for flying. But has dreamed of moving it further and becoming a corporate pilot for a company. With the help of Ableflight, he has been able to move one step closer to that goal. My husband now can fulfill a life long dream. Words cannot express how gratefull I am that we found this company. Charles and all of the sponsors: THANK YOU! We will forever be in your debt!
There are no words that can describe what an amazing group Able Flight is!!!
I am truly blessed, honored and thankful for their help in continuing my aviation career. I can only hope, moving forward, I can have a continuous role with this truly outstanding organization!!
There aren't enough stars to give to this organization! Able Flight gives so much and only expects that you work hard and share your love of flying with others. That isn't a problem, because after you receive your wings you want everyone to know about your accomplishment!
For me, it rekindled a love for aviation that's always been in me. After my accident, 19 years ago, I thought for sure my dreams of flying were gone, like many other plans I had. I can't thank Mr. Stites -he insists I call him Charles but to me, that doesn't convey the respect I have for him- and Able Flight enough. Not many people see a need in a population that is not served, or underserved, and says, 'I need to do something about this,' and acts.
Please donate to Able Flight, every single cent is put to use thoughtfully and strategically to maximize benefit to its clients.
Before I heard about Able Flight, it was difficult for me to start my flight training because I'm Deaf with no flight experience that local Certified Flight Instructors (CFIs) were not willing to train me to become a pilot. It was a struggle, because I want to be a professional pilot that I tried to get closer to a pilot job. After earning a sport pilot certificate with the help of Able Flight, it is easier to find a CFI to start my flight training for higher pilot certificates and ratings because CFIs now see that I am ABLE to fly even I'm Deaf.
Able Flight had provided a lot for me that they and Purdue University found a CFI to train me to become a sport pilot as well as provided an American Sign Language (ASL) interpreting service where I can understand instruction at pilot ground school better. My Able Flight classmates, instructors, and coordinators were so nice and helpful and can communicate with each other other ways when the interpreter wasn't around. Able Flight provided everything I needed to finally become a pilot, which was very nice. Around the end of six weeks of intense sport pilot flight training at Purdue University to ensure Able Flight student pilots become a confident, competent, and safe pilot, I do feel confident to get on the airplane and fly without my CFI.
Able Flight is a great organization that changes people's life as well as it had with mine seeing that I can really be a pilot and looking forward to advancing my pilot certificates and ratings. I'm currently training to be a private pilot, getting closer to be an airline transport pilot. I still remember the first take off during my flight training with my CFI that I smiled for finally to start the flight training as well as I smiled after my last landing during my first solo flight realizing that I did it!
Able Flight Pilot
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Being awarded the Able flight scholarship was likely the best gift of my life. I spent the summer at Purdue with a group of student pilots from different parts of the country, and with different disabilities. We were united by our love for flying, and encouraged one another and celebrated our triumphs. We each had our own dedicated flight instructor. For those of us who cannot move around easily, flying restores a sense of freedom of movement. For me, to become pilot-in-command of a small aircraft gives a sense of personal power and joy. To fly an airplane, you are reminded how beautiful the world is. And in that position, your disabilities disappear. We accomplished in roughly six weeks what most student pilots achieve in six months or more. Able Flight showed us we were up to the challenge. Without this scholarship, and the support of everyone at Purdue, most of us would have remain grounded. Instead, we worked hard, we helped each other, and we laughed a lot. It is unusual to find an organization that can accommodate disabilities and find solutions to facilitate flying an aircraft. There is no other scholarship like it, and I felt lucky to have been part of this summer’s group. This small non-profit focuses on improving quality of life, achievement and fun, which becomes part of who we are. Pilots!
My name is Robin Rhodes, I’m an Aviation Resource Manager in the USAF, but more importantly I'm Tyrell Rhodes mom. Tyrell was a 2012 Able Flight student. His interest in aviation began at a very young age. Ty has lived on or near Air Force base his entire life. Almost daily he would go outside to watch the planes fly over our house. He enjoyed coming to my job so he could talk to the pilots, play with all their flight equipment, and going to the annual airshow was always a treat for him. When he was about 5, we were discussing what he was going to be for Halloween, of course Ty said a pilot. As he got older, I hoped he would change his mind, which never happened. I didn't have the heart to tell him that being a pilot probably wasn't going to happen for him because he was born with Cerebral Palsy. Boy, am I glad I never did!
When he heard about Able Flight, he did some research, and then applied. I will never forget the excitement in his voice when he called me to tell me he was accepted into the program. The day after his High School graduation we made our way to Purdue University and his life hasn't been the same since. The experience has made Tyrell more confident and has encouraged him to pursue a career in the aviation industry. Currently he is in his second year of college studying Aviation Administration, with goals of being Airport Commissioner at O’Hare International Airport. Tyrell made lifelong friends and mentors during his 6 weeks at the Able Flight program.
This organization is absolutely phenomenal! It's literally, a life changer! Hats off to all the instructors, volunteers, board members, donors and last but not least, Mr. Stites for all that you do to ensure this program continues to be a huge success. Your commitment to your students has not gone unnoticed. Thank you for allowing my son and others like him the opportunity to accomplish their dreams.
ABLE FLIGHT ROCKS!!!
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Able flight has made a monumental impact in my families lives with their program. My husband, a disabled veteran, participated in the program this year (2014) and the experience completely changed the trajectory of our lives for the better. Kurt (my hubby) had dreamed of flying his whole life, yet after his disabling accident, he thought he would never be able to achieve that dream. He was depressed, dejected and had been wondering what to do with his life. The Able flight program brought life back into his eyes. The completion of the program presented more opportunity to him for career choices and a REAL FUTURE! There is NO other program (of which I am aware) that does more for the alternately abled community than Able Flight. Charles Stites and His beautiful wife, Sue, have put together one of the best non-profit organizations I've ever seen. How awesome a vision to provide hope and a future to those who previously thought their usefulness had come to an end? I LOVE able flight!!!!
As a Flight Instructor for 40 years, I have trained new pilots from 16 years to 71 years old, and recognized that each learns in a different way and each presents a challenge to guide them to their goals of becoming a pilot. Until I heard of Able Flight, I could not comprehend the challenges of people with disabilities making it through their everyday activities, muchless learning to fly an airplane.
Since meeting Charles Stites and many of his scholarship winners, I have a new and expanded view of not only the physical capabilities of these folks, but also their indomitable spirit that just needed an Able Flight to carry them to new heights in their lives.
I could not think of a more valuable charity to donate, for the simple reason that it absolutely has changed the lives of so many. Being a veteran, I am especially concerned about the returning Wounded Warriors, and ask that my donations be directed to these scholarship winners.
At the annual Able Flight awards ceremony each year at the EAA Airventure Air Show in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, I am overwhelmed by the spirit of those who "earned their wings" through the Able Flight program. Just think about what they are thinking -" I cannot walk, BUT I CAN FLY". It's emotionally overwhelming!
Charles Stites has really discovered with Able Flight the "greater good" we all search for in life, but rarely is our search fulfilled. He does spectacular work, and the aviation world is a better universe because of him and his efforts.
I first heard about Able Flight last summer and thought that it was a good program that helped spread the word about aviation and an opportunity to help various individuals achieve a dream they thought was impossible. It wasn't until this past summer when I was able to be volunteer as a flight instructor for the organization, that I realized that it was more than that.
I can say that I am extremely glad and honored to have been able to participate in this organization. I have been able to not only spread the love for aviation to those that participated in the program, but also have helped them achieve their dreams, an opportunity that I would never forget and that I would do so again in a heartbeat. I have also learned so much about instructing, life, and myself. Participating in this organization has helped me become a better person.
Able Flight is an organization that changes the lives of those that get involved in it, from the individuals selected to participate to the volunteers. Of course, it would never be possible without the hard and undying work of those "behind-the-scenes" individuals that continue to work to keep the organization going and being what it is, i.e. Charles Stites.
After this year, I know that I want and will continue to participate, help and be part of this great organization.
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