EAA Chapter 66 in Ft. Myers Florida has graduated their second Ray Scholar at 40 hours Private Pilot completion in 2 years. Jabari Brown, this year’s Ray Scholar, completed his check ride at Flight Fast Track in Punta Gorda after only 4 weeks and 40 hours of training. This is a great accomplishment when the national average is 60-80 hours. Here’s what Jabari tells us:
“I used my TakeFlight Academy subscription regularly before I received my Ray Scholarship. It was a huge part of my developing understanding of flight maneuvers and procedures, and precise control of the airplane. EAA 66 generously loaned me a very nice portable PC sim for my TakeFlight, work which I continued even after starting with lessons aloft, and am continuing even after receiving my license. So, when I began at Flight Fast Track, I already had a significant understanding of how to fly and was very confident. In fact, my instructor didn’t even touch the controls of the airplane for the first 15 hours. I got my instructor’s formal endorsement for my check ride at the minimum 40 hours but I’m certain I would have passed at 25. I had to wait weeks until a Designated Pilot Examiner was available, so continued training to keep current. Even so, I consider myself having gotten my completion at 40 hours. My thanks to the Ray Foundation, TakeFlight, and EAA 66 Ft.Myers and all their great mentor pilots who’ve guided me in getting my PPL in the FAA minimum, and within the $11,000 Ray Scholarship.”
Jabari had roughly 10 hours of informal flying experience and had worked on a small simulator at home. Fortunately, EAA 66 already had a youth flight training program. 3 years ago EAA 66 started with a member-donated simulator running TakeFlight Academy and have recently added 3 more simulators thanks to a Ray Foundation grant. They hold Thursday night flight training sessions every week using TakeFlight Academy. Jabari was both a regular participant and has also been assisting new students. Every trainee in the program gets their own TakeFlight Academy subscription, also thanks to the Ray Foundation.
“We are thrilled that we’ve been able to provide these capabilities to Jabari and our other aviation hopefuls” said Steve Gagnon, President of EAA 66 Ft.Myers. “Jabari is heading to American Airlines flight training in Dallas, we’re sure he’s going to make them as proud as he’s made us.”
Today, a dozen young people train with TakeFlight at EAA 66’s Thursday night sessions. They already have 3 students competing for next years Ray Scholarship.
TakeFlight and Ray Foundation grants are transforming EAA chapters, making it possible to create a full pipeline of quality student pilots.