Able Flight

Rating: 5 stars   48 reviews

Issues: Education

Location: Chapel Hill NC USA

Mission: 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.
Results: 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 50 scholarships, and forty one recipients are now licensed pilots. Beginning in 2010, Able Flight partnered with Purdue University on a annual joint flight training program. To date, 23 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 2014 has awarded nine career training scholarships..
Target demographics: 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: National
Programs: Flight Training Scholarships Aviation Career Training Scholarships Scholarships for wounded veterans
2014 Top-Rated Nonprofit
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EIN 20-5001037
919-942-4699
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Community Reviews

Rating: 5 stars  

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.



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Rating: 5 stars  

Sennheiser Aviation has been a supporter of Able Flight for several years, and we are proud of that relationship, and humbled by the accomplishments of the pilots that Able Flight graduates each year. The program is very well administered and enjoys wide aviation community support because of the integrity of the people involved and the value of the mission.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

The only improvement I can think of is an extension of the mission to promote the availability of specially equipped aircraft so that Able Flight pilots (and others uniquely enabled) continue to have access to flying at centers around the country.

Was your donation impactful?

Likely

How likely is it that you would recommend that a friend donate to this group?

Definitely

How likely are you to donate to this group again?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

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Rating: 5 stars  

I have been involved with Able Flight as a advisory board member as well as a donor. I am lucky to meet with the aspiring pilots as they do their flight training at Purdue, and to see the joy in their hearts. When a disabling illness or injury has taken their spirit for life away, the opportunities with Able Flight gives that back to them. Being associated with the wonderful organization is very rewarding but yet humbling. We as part of Able Flight, give them back their freedom, but more so, we give them back their spirit for life.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

hope to reach more people for donations and grants, to make more dreams come true

Was your donation impactful?

Definitely

How likely is it that you would recommend that a friend donate to this group?

Definitely

How likely are you to donate to this group again?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

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Rating: 5 stars  

I stumbled across Able Flight by accident, but once I witnessed the wonderful things they do I just couldn’t turn away. Able Flight gives the gift of flight to a group of people with disabilities who might not otherwise get the chance. As a corporate sponsor I have personally met several of the folks that have come through the Able Flight training program. It was quickly apparent that these brave folks come out of the program not with just a Sport Pilot certificate but with a renewed motivation to soar in all aspects of their lives and with the feeling that they have gained back some of the freedom they may have lost. I am extremely proud to have our company involved in supporting such a wonderful organization.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

I have had the opportunity to chat with several of the folks that have been helped by Able Flight and their success stories are incredibly inspirational.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Continue to expand the programs to help even more people!

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Rating: 5 stars  

We at AIM Group Two are proud of our association with Able Flight. We have met some of their recipients and have the highest admiration for their efforts and dedication. There are few things as liberating as taking to the sky in command of an aircraft, and for people who have earthly limitations, it must be an even greater exhilaration. Able Flight is an amazing program.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

Talking with Able Flight scholarship recipients leaves you with huge admiration for the individuals overcoming physical limitations to learn to fly.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Can't think of any.

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Rating: 5 stars  

9 people found this review helpful

As a leading supplier of parts, avionics, and pilot supplies to the general aviation and sport aviation markets, Aircraft Spruce & Specialty Co. has had the opportunity to sponsor many aviation programs over the years. Aircraft Spruce has sponsored such programs as the EAA Young Eagles, the Build-A-Plane program which introduced high school students to aircraft construction, and the EAA SportAir Workshops which provide education on homebuilt aircraft construction. Aircraft Spruce is proud to be a sponsor of Able Flight, which enables people with disabilities the opportunity to pursue their their dreams in aviation. Able Flight is a wonderful non-profit organization which helps disabled people get started in flight training with the goal of earning their pilot's certificate. For more information on Aircraft Spruce's sponsorship of Able Flight, visit www.aircraftspruce.com

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

very positive and supportive of helping Able Flight continue to prosper.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every six months

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-9-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

23 people found this review helpful

Charles Stites has been a personal friend and member of our 501 C 3 organization long before Ableflight was created. When the FAA passed the Sport Pilot certificate requirements, Charles recognized a niche opportunity to make a difference in the lives of some people with disabilities. He ran his ideas past me and I felt they had merit but would take a lot of hard work. Charles and Ableflight have accomplished the task hands down. Ableflight is providing a unique opportunity for people with disabilities to pilot an aircraft without assistance from anyone. For a person to hear “sorry, no you can’t, no it can’t be done, no, no, no” and then have an organization like Ableflight come along and say “Yes you can, let us help” is a life changing experience for these recipients. People who have received scholarships from Ableflight would probably not have been able to accomplish such an awesome goal without their help. Charles has been able to recruit help for this organization through donations of time, equipment, housing, and fuel. If you can make a donation, take my word “there is not a charity more worthy of your help”.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

meeting some of the recipients and donors.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

seeing it's rapid growth.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

absolutely awesome.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

grant scholarships to every applicant.

Ways to make it better...

I could afford to donate more personally.

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

keeping the donations flowing.

One thing I'd also say is that...

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-1-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

17 people found this review helpful

My wife and I have been involved with Able Flight for about two years. We hosted the Able Flight training aircraft and students at our home & hangar at OSH for the 2007 AirVenture flight training program as well as cook outs for the Able Flight gang at AirVenture 2007 and 2008. The program is top notch and we have made many new friends through the organization. I recommend that more folks get involved as it is very satisfying and much needed.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

The realization of dreams coming true for people with disabilities.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

keep Charles Stites as the Executive Director.

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

Seeing that your goals can be accomplished with effort and a bit of assistance!

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

truly inspirational!

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

help even more people.

Ways to make it better...

we could do this year round!

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

funding.

One thing I'd also say is that...

My wife and I are very happy to have become associated with the Stites' and Able Flight.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2008-8-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

17 people found this review helpful

Jet Aviation Business Jets, Inc. (JBJI) has been a supporter of Able Flight since shortly after its founding. As General Manager of JBJI I am approached by numerous charities and non-profits for donations. To me donating to Able Flight is a no-brainer. Charles Stites operates the organization very efficiently. I have seen first hand how its work has literally changed the lives of individuals, brought families closer together and given the freedom and confidence which comes from piloting an aircraft to those whose need these things most - the disabled.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

the pride in accomplishment its graduates feel when they get out of their wheel chairs and fly their first solo flight.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

try to figure out how to get the story of Able Flight out to a larger audience, who would willingly support such a noble and worthy cause.

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

meeting these incredible individuals and their families and seeing how Able Flight has changed their lives.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

first class. These are "doers" not "watchers". They give of their time and resources and achieve incredible results with little overhead.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

provide full scholarships to 1,250 disabled citizens and war veterans to help them achieve the freedom of flight.

Ways to make it better...

I could help them recruit more disabled veterans. I believe the program is ideal for helping these heroes regain a sense of self-worth and accomplishment.

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

fund raising and managing growth.

One thing I'd also say is that...

Able Flight's founder Charles Stites is one of the finest men I have ever known and his selfless commitment to this cause is worthy of recognition.

Should this review be counted for a specific campaign?

Jet Aviation Business Jets, Inc.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2008-1-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

13 people found this review helpful

Able Flight has given so many deserving individuals one of the greatest opportunities of a lifetime.....the oportunity to FLY. Flying, in itself, is a great and wonderful experience, but when you have a disability, and you could never imagine being able to have that dream fulfilled, well, just imagine how that would make you feel. Able Flight has given that dream of a lifetime to so many wonderful people, and I so am proud to be a part of it. Thanks Able Flight for a lot of special memories shared with a lot of special people. Martha K.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

The smiles on the faces of the people who have earned their pilot's license.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Not do anything different.

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

Getting to know those special people.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

Awesome.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

Blow you away!!!

Ways to make it better...

I could have given more.....

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

The lack of funds to do more.

One thing I'd also say is that...

Charles Stites, the Board, the Sponsers,the Instructors, the Recipients and everyone involved, ROCKS!!

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2008-1-01

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