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Able Flight

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Education, Scholarships, Scholarships & Student Financial Aid

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. As of October 2016 it has awarded 78 scholarships (including flight training and aviation career training), and fifty three recipients are now licensed pilots. Beginning in 2010, Able Flight partnered with Purdue University on a annual joint flight training program. To date, every student trained at Purdue and sent for a check ride has passed for a 100% success rate. In 2011 Able Flight began awarding Aviation Career Training Scholarships, and as of October 2016 has awarded fifteen 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

Community Stories

78 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Kurt3

Client Served

Rating: 5

I have had a dream of flight and of working in the aviation industry since I was a child. Right after I started my flight instruction, I lost my arm in an accident in the Navy. I thought my dream had been forever removed from possibility. Able Flight showed me that my life wasn't over and that my dream was still possible. They gave me the training and confidence to start a new life for myself after the old one had been destroyed. I now have my Sport Pilot certificate and am currently enrolled in an FAA Flight Dispatcher program at Universal Weather and Aviation.

Able Flight has forever changed my life for the better. Charles Stites is AMAZING at what he does and I will always be grateful that he took a chance on me. He nurtured my aviation passion and ensured that I had everything I needed to succeed. It was tough and it was hard, but it was also fun and rewarding and confidence building and worth every minute! If I can fly a plane with only 1 arm, there's nothing I can't do.

A word about the sponsors: MARVELOUS! I met so many wonderful people that support this program. Matt at Bombardier was such a joy to meet; he felt like a long lost friend that had my back and would always be there for me. Chris and the gand from Sennheiser were the same, even to the point of inviting me to share their rental house during the rain at Oshkosh when I was afraid that my tent had flooded. The staff and students and Purdue University were so good to me during my time there that I didn't want to leave. John and Bernie are so very supportive of my aviation dream and we are keeping in touch as my current training progresses.

My time was such a flurry of activity that I'm having trouble remembering everyone I met. The folks at AOPA, Aero Shell, Foreflight, and Landmark Aviation were incredible. Very supportive and personable. Jet Aviation, Embraer, Signature Flight Support, AVweb, and King Schools were also very generous and are part of something of which they should be very proud.

I am sold on Able Flight and believe in it 100%. When I finish my current training and take my place among other aviation professionals, I will begin the task of paying back and paying forward the gift with which I have been blessed. I hope to soon return to Able Flight as a ground (or even flight) instructor and return the financial blessing I have received so that others will be able to experience this, too.

If you have a disability and don't think you can do this, THINK AGAIN! I was constantly amazed at what I was able to do and you will be, too. APPLY! It will rock your world.

Matt54

Client Served

Rating: 5

Able Flight directly helped me earn my light sport pilot certificate, something that I had dreamed about from the time I was young. When I found out about this program I was blow away by what they were offering with their scholarships, the freedom to fly! The 5 weeks that I was in this program will stick with me for the rest of my life and I couldn't be thankful enough for the donors, volunteers, directors and everyone involved in making this organization a possibility.

Dennis30

Client Served

Rating: 5

All my life I have dreamed of flying, but a spinal cord injury when I was fourteen kept me from ever fulfilling that dream. All that changed earlier this year when I received a scholarship from Able Flight. These people believed in me and supported me to a greater degree than I ever imagined. Six weeks of training this past summer and now I have achieved something I wasn't sure was even possible. I also serve as an Aerospace Education officer in the Civil Air Patrol. Now I have such a better grasp of the knowledge and some real experience to draw from when I'm trying to teach basic knowledge and skills to my cadets. This was a life altering experience for me and I'm aready sharing the benefits of what I received with the next generation of aviators.

David177

Donor

Rating: 5

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.

Chris T

Donor

Rating: 5

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.

Client Served

Rating: 5

In 2011 I was granted a scholarship from Able Flight and was sent to Purdue University for training. In just a short 5 weeks I was issued my pilots license. What many people don't know about Able flight is the possibilities that come out of it. Two years ago I would have never thought I would be a graduate student and work in the airline industry. If someone was to ask me to describe Able Flight in 2 words or less I would have to say life-changing to say the least. Able Flight has led me to a career and a much better quality of life.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Able Flight got me back flying at a time in my life when I thought my flying days we're behind me. As a result I'm now making a living as an amputee pilot! I can't say enough good things about the benefits of aviation and the Able Flight organization! Thank you Able Flight for all you did for me and all you're doing for others. -- Ryan (Right leg amputee, WIA Iraq 2003)

Client Served

Rating: 5

Able Flight gave me a gift I never thought I could attain, the gift of flight. I was born with a rare condition that left me wheelchair bound, so although I could stare at the sky with appreciation, I never thought I'd be able to reach it. Becoming a pilot was something I could only dream about.

A scholarship from Able Flight in 2011 turned that dream into a reality. The scholarship provided an intense, 6 week flight school at Purdue University that ended with me receiving a Sport Pilot certification.

I am very grateful to Able Flight for helping me reach my goals and am excited for all the others who will have the chance to experience this amazing opportunity.

Young C.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I am in a wheel chair due to early age polio and never thought flying is possible with my both hands only.

Able Flight granted full scholarship for me to learn flying at Purdue University this year I got my pilot license in six weeks. It was Amazing!

It was total life-changing experience and I am able to fly solo now.
I really appreciate all the effort and support Able Flight provided for my great achievement.

Client Served

Rating: 5

When I was 16 I had an opportunity to fly and loved every moment in the air. After being wounded by an IED blast in Iraq and consequently losing my left arm and right leg, I figured becoming an aviator was never going to happen. Able Flight and AOPA teamed up to get me back in the air and helped me earn my pilots license. I continue to fly regularly and my story has motivated other veterans to get out and continue to lead active lives. Able flight provides a great service to our veterans and has been an outstanding organization to be affiliated with. I highly recommend Able Flight to anyone with a passion for aviation.

S/F

-Adam Kisielewski
Sgt/USMC/Ret

Deirdre2

Client Served

Rating: 5

Able Flight has changed my life. I have had Multiple Sclerosis since the age of 16 and have been told over the years that I have to modify my whole life and prepare for the inevitable "wheelchair" which was always deemed to be the end all be all of my illness. I always wanted to fly but was told it would never happen. Able Flight took me out of that box and told me to go fly and be free. I am so greatful to Charles and all the Able Flight Instructors as well as my compadres along the journey. Even though it was completely new to me and I had had no former experience, everyone was supportive and positive and certain I would be able to do this...and I did! I will never be able to say, "Thank You!" enough!

At the age of 42, and being in a wheelchair for the past 16 years, I have become a licensed pilot!!! Thank you, a million times, thank you!

Client Served

Rating: 5

AbleFlight gave me the ability to push myself beyond expectations I originally thought possible and gain confidence that has transferred to my daily routine. AbleFlight is a wonderful program that only wants to see its participants succeed. This life changing program has provided me with memories that I will cherish forever. Thanks to everyone for their charitable contributions which has made it possible for me and others to experience the freedom of flight!

Warren C.

Client Served

Rating: 5

The Able Flight program is a life changing endeavor. I can't even express the freedom and independence I feel every time I go to the airport, hop in a plane, and fly loved ones around the sky. It is such an accomplishment and boost in confidence when completed and a gift I will cherish forever.

Client Served

Rating: 5

As a recent AbleFlight Scholarship recipient, I wholeheartedly endorse all aspects of this program. If you are looking for a life-changing challenge, then apply. If you want to help change someone's life for the better, then consider giving. The great thing about AbleFlight is that its results are tangible, measurable, and indisputable: a select number of scholarship recipients each year will become licensed pilots. If we can do this, we can do anything!

Client Served

Rating: 5

Able Flight had recently changed my life by bestowing me with a career training scholarship to be a Light Sport Repairman with Maintenance Rating. I was wounded in Iraq twice during the Surge in Baghdad. As a result this prevented me from flying for the Army. One day I came across Able Flight webpage. From that moment on my life was going to be changed even though I didn't realize it. I applied and ended up being fortunate enough to receive the Career Training Scholarship. After coming back from the course in California I was offered a job at the flight school I learned to fly at. I couldn't be any happier and grateful for where I am now. I owe all this to the great people at Able Flight. Without them I don't know where I would be right now. This is an organization that changes lives!!!! I am proof of that.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I was one of two lucky recipients to receive a flight training scholarship at Purdue University in 2010. Everyone involved invested so much of their time in assuring our success. I was taken completely out of my comfort zone and pushed to the edge. That is how you learn what you are truly capable of. It was absolutely a life changing experience for me and saying thank you just wasn't enough. I was able to team up with another Able Flight pilot and raise enough money for two wounded vets to learn to fly in what we called "Freedom Flight 2011." There are so many selfless individuals behind this organization and I am extremely proud to be called an Able Flight pilot.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I've been involved with Able Flight since the very early days. I have met the most amazing people and seen first-hand how Able Flight scholars have been transformed by the freedom of flight. It has been truly rewarding to get to know all the wonderful people involved in this organization at every level. If I ever win the lottery, I am going to make sure Able Flight gets the lion's share of the winnings. Until then, I want to continue to be involved and help get the word out about this GREAT non-profit.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Hi folks. My name is Rod Anderson. I haven't received a scholarship award from Able Flight however I have applied for one. I've been a Class A truck driver and mechanic for the past thirty four years and have outlived various body parts. My life long dream and passion has been to fly. When a career change became inevitable due to advanced spinal stenosis, degeneratine disc disease and arthritis, I became aware of the new opportunities in the field of light sport aircraft. To me, this was a golden opportunity, to be able to pursue my dream of flying and a new career as a light sport repairman with a maintenance rating. I couldn't believe my eyes when I realized there was a scholarship available for this training to people with disabilities. Organizations such as Able Flight are few and far between. The assistance they provide to individuals with disabilities to be productive, viable and assets to the community cannot be understated. I understand that the resources required to make these programs possible are considerable and limited, however the benefits that are reaped and the good that is done is huge in comparasion. The generous donations of individuals and businesses in the aviation industry has made these awards and the success of the reciepients possible.--Rod Anderson

Donor

Rating: 5

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.

Donor

Rating: 5

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.