My Nonprofit Reviews
Review for Able Flight, Chapel Hill, NC, USA
I've been fortunate enough to see both sides of several non-profits, through being served as a client and acting as a volunteer for some. I can say without a doubt that Able Flight provides one of (if not the) most powerful experience of any that I've come across. For people with disabilities (like me) finding greater independence and confidence in living is a daily exercise. It's often that a large goal, like obtaining a sporting pilot certificate, seems totally impossible. Able Flight & their sponsors (my personal one was from Shell Aviation) in conjunction with Purdue University, Ohio State University (and maybe others soon?) provide the structure and opportunity for something so unique and special.
My first solo flight was like nothing I've ever felt; a level of confidence and capability that's eluded me for too long. It seemed obvious that this program would be awesome, flying everyday, twice a day (if we can) for 6 weeks. But I never realized how much I would truly love it. It's the only thing I've been genuinely excited to wake up before 6am for in my life, I think. When I land each morning and think about having flown around in the skies for at least an hour before 9am, everything is up from there.
Already the pilot mindset is spilling into other areas of my life. The first part is about being prepared and diligent about every detail, with the aircraft, the weather, and countless other things, following exacting procedures, & more. Second you have to execute that knowledge, & at the same time have high situational awareness of what's happening around you, with the aircraft, the weather, communications, unforeseen hazards, etc. Plus you have to illicit good pilot judgment about a variety of circumstances, some of which can be learned, while some seems largely intuitive. Lastly is the debriefing and lessons learned after each flight. A way of coming back to point zero & starting over again from the same place, hopefully adding those layers of experience into well-rounded skill.
Flying is the perfect intersection of engineering and performance. We learn the engineering behind this vehicle, then go out and fly it based on that knowledge. It's pretty freaking cool. If I could fly everyday from here on, I would. I'm eager to re-dedicate myself in meaningful ways just as I've felt here, and let these lessons become a huge part of my life.
Big thanks to all our great instructors who fit us in to an already busy schedule and keep us motivated each day! Also thanks to the 6 pilots that were there with me for the support, & being on a memorable and life-changing journey together. It's a brave squad! And of course, a massive thank you to Able Flight & their sponsors, without which this amazing opportunity wouldn't have been possible. - Benedict Jones