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EAA AirVenture Oshkosh RSS Feed Piper's 'Ready, Set, Fly!' program earns first solo

Story and photo by MEGHAN PLUMMER
Jon Roberts
Jon Roberts had his first solo flight July 20 through Piper’s “Ready, Set, Fly!” program.

As of July 20, Jon Roberts, from Rhode Island, was the first person to solo through Piper Aircraft’s “Ready, Set, Fly!” program. Roberts, who always wanted to fly, started researching airplanes and flight training a year ago. He wanted the flexibility to take weekend trips and fly whenever he wanted, and after learning about the “Ready, Set, Fly!” program, he decided it was the right choice for him.

In Piper’s program, hopeful pilots buy an Archer LX and receive their private pilot certificate for free with executive-style training.

With the concentrated program, students work with the same instructor throughout training and can get their certificates in as little as three weeks.

“I’ve got total flexibility,” Roberts said, pointing out that he really needed something that worked with his schedule.
“I’m seeing much more flexibility, having my plane and my instructor.”

Guaranteed upward mobility
With a dealer-sponsored trade-in program, Roberts can later work his way up through Piper’s airplanes.

When a customer buys an airplane and agrees to buy a new one in an 18-month period, he or she is guaranteed a certain trade-in value.

“If you’re someone that wants to progress, the ability to step up in Piper is really the best that I’ve seen,” Roberts said.

His plan is to get as much experience as possible and work up to the Piper Matrix.

Roberts said he couldn’t be happier with his airplane, the program, and Piper itself.

“I’m very proud to wear my Piper shirt,” he said.

A new pilot’s AirVenture inauguration
Roberts arrived Thursday for his first visit to AirVenture, and he said he’s impressed.

“I have to say, it’s amazing,” he said.

So far, his favorite stop was in the Warbirds area. “You’re seeing history,” he said. “It’s just fantastic.”

Roberts, whose father was a fighter pilot in the Air Force, said he remembers going to the Air Force base when he was 6 years old.

His dad brought him out on the tarmac while all the pilots were starting their jets.

“That was bigger than life at 6 years old,” he said.

Planning to have his private pilot certificate in the next eight weeks and move right into IFR training afterward, Roberts said he plans to bring his kids along to AirVenture next year.

“My ultimate goal would be to fly my own plane in here one year,” he said.

One of his children said he wants to camp under the wing, but another isn’t too keen on the idea.

In the next couple weeks, Roberts has plans to fly to North Carolina with a CFI to take his two sons marlin fishing.

“My first real cross-country out of training will be flying into Kitty Hawk,” Roberts said.

He’s ready and set to make that flight.

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