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EAA AirVenture Oshkosh RSS Feed Able Flight Pilots to Get Their Wings
Able Flight
Five of the six Able Flight pilots set to receive their wings at AirVenture include (l to r) Warren Cleary, Dennis Akins, Deirdre Dacey, Lt. Andrew Kinard, and Young Choi.

July 17, 2013 - Six new pilots are receiving Able Flight wings on Tuesday during AirVenture at 11 a.m. on Phillips 66 Plaza.

Five of the pilots trained from May to July at Purdue University, and the other earned her certificate earlier at another location. Special guests on hand to pin their wings include National Aviation Hall of Famer Patty Wagstaff.

The new pilots are Marine Lt. Andrew Kinard, of Massachusetts, who lost both legs from an IED explosion in Iraq; Deirdre Dacey, of Massachusetts, who was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis at 16; Young Choi, of California, who had polio as a child; Warren Cleary, of Georgia, who is a former member of the U.S. National Skydiving Team and was paralyzed during training for competition in 2012; Dennis Akins, of Texas, who was 14 when he became paralyzed as the result of an accident on a trampoline; and Stephany Glassing, of Georgia, who was paralyzed in an auto accident as a teenager.

From mid-May to July, Akins, Choi, Cleary, Dacey, and Kinard had six weeks of flight and ground training at Purdue. When the program ended, the pilots had logged more than 260 hours with the help of Purdue student instructors Tim Gleeson, Jared Kuhn, Nick Losande, Abe McCollough, and Matt Paczolt.

Able Flight's Charles Stites said, "Over the past four years we have sent 17 students to Purdue, and they have all become licensed pilots. You can't argue with a 100 percent success rate, and that success is based on motivated students who refuse to let a physical disability become an obstacle, outstanding young instructors who see this as a great opportunity to teach people who give it their all to become a pilot, and to a university that believes in providing an equal opportunity for those who are willing to do the work it takes.

"If you want to see what's right with aviation today, you can begin by looking at Able Flight."

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