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EAA AirVenture Oshkosh RSS FeedNew pilot started with free student certificate from Oshkosh ’08

Cliff Cole earned a sport pilot certificate after getting a free student pilot certificate in 2008 from the Learn to Fly Discovery Center.

Cliff Cole of Grand Haven, Michigan, stopped into the Learn to Fly Discovery Center on Tuesday morning and told Jason Blair, executive director of the National Association of Flight Instructors (NAFI), that on July 25, 2009, he passed his sport pilot checkride.

Cliff explained that the previous year he had received a free sport pilot student pilot certificate from the EAA Learn to Fly Discovery Center. Training for and earning the sport pilot ticket allowed him to achieve his lifelong dream of flight.

Cliff, who turns 69 on Sunday, received his first flight 63 years ago in a Taylorcraft flown by a local pilot who had returned from WWII. He was hooked on aviation from that moment, but never took the time to get his pilot certificate all those years.

Cliff’s wife, always supportive of his desire to fly, passed away a few years ago. He came to EAA and continued his dream, joining Chapter 211.

After beating cancer a few years back, he was nervous about his ability to get a third class medical certificate, but learned he could go the sport pilot route and use his driver’s license for medical certification.

With his student pilot certificate in hand in 2008, he took the next step to realizing his lifelong dream of becoming a pilot at a local flight training provider in Holland, Michigan. His instructor was Barb Fleming and he trained in a Zodiac CH60.

“I was able to realize a lifelong dream,” he said. “It’s a good, solid feeling that I am actually doing this. I always knew I could but with the student certificate, everything sort of fell into place.”

His flying for the past year has included local fun flying and he is looking at adding on some sport pilot endorsements in the upcoming months for things such as flying into controlled airspace.

So Cliff got his wings; how about you? EAA is once again providing the free student pilot certificates again this year at the EAA Learn to Fly Discovery Center, located at the corner of Knapp St. Road and Celebration Way. You can also meet with flight instructors and ask questions about learning to fly; take a turn at the full-motion Red Birds flight sim; plus sign up with AOPA to Take the Next Step to flight training and be eligible for a daily drawing for a flight bag, training materials from ASA and Jeppesen, and free six-month AOPA and EAA memberships—all worth more than $750.

FUTURE AIRVENTURE DATES: 2014: July 28-Aug. 3; 2015: July 20-26; 2016: July 25-31; 2017: July 24-30
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