AOPA Project Pilot

Giving Back

July 1, 2006

AOPA Project Pilot

As we learned in kindergarten, it is better to give than to receive. Through the newly revitalized AOPA Project Pilot program, members now have the opportunity to give back to the general aviation community by mentoring a prospective pilot through the flight-training process. Originally launched in 1994, the program has helped usher thousands of people into the pilot ranks. But more needs to be done. The pilot population continues to decline. Fewer pilots mean less clout in fighting onerous regulations at the federal, state, and local levels. Fewer pilots mean higher prices for fuel, avionics, and aircraft. The pilot population is aging dramatically faster than the population as a whole. Within a generation, general aviation as we know it may not exist. But you can make a difference. You can turn this around.

In the following pages, AOPA Project Pilot spokesman Erik Lindbergh describes how important a Mentor was in his flight-training experience, despite the legacy of a famous flying family. You'll learn the nuts and bolts of how to be a Mentor and what resources AOPA has to help you. You'll read about the joys other mentors have seen in helping someone realize the dream of learning to fly. And you'll see through the eyes of a young pilot how learning to fly quite literally changed his life.

When you've finished reading this section, don't just turn the page. Instead, log on to www.AOPAProjectPilot.org to learn more about how you can make a difference in the future of some prospective pilot and in the future of all of general aviation. Together, we can grow the pilot ranks and share our passion for flight. — Thomas B. Haines, editor in chief, AOPA Pilot


Sharing Your Passion for Flight

History is calling: It's time to do your part

BY ERIK LINDBERGH

Even with a name like Lindbergh, I needed a mentor to encourage me to learn to fly.

That's right — I never would have discovered the joy of flight if somebody hadn't encouraged me. A friend was learning to fly and kept bugging me to give it a try. And when I went up on an introductory flight, all I could say was, "This is cool!" I was hooked.

Many pilots are surprised that my mentor wasn't my grandfather, Charles A. Lindbergh, or my grandmother, Anne. Even that powerful legacy wasn't enough to get me into the cockpit. If anything, my heritage was a negative — that legacy was so intense, even my grandparents hid from it in the latter part of their lives. That reticence worked its way through the generations. And even as a pilot I didn't talk about being a Lindbergh — I didn't want it to be a factor.

While I was studying at Emery Aviation College in Colorado Springs, Colorado, my roommate and a couple of others only found out about my aviation legacy after they'd known me for awhile. The FAA-designated examiner who conducted my certificated flight instructor checkride also made the connection. After I passed, he was completing my temporary pilot certificate and asked how my name was spelled. He then asked me if I was related to Charles. I said, "He was my grandfather." He joked, "Really? If I'd known I wouldn't have made you fly."

That's why I downplayed my legacy; I wanted to know that I was good enough, and that I really made it on my own — I didn't want to be given something I hadn't earned, and I didn't want anyone to make it harder. In a funny way, it's almost like this history of being a Lindbergh was a barrier.

You remember that great feeling of your first takeoff, don't you? The thrill of your first solo? The excitement of that incredible day when you got your ticket? As pilots, we'll never forget these memories of our aviation milestones. I still talk about my first solo. It was on Halloween evening in 1989 at Harvey Field in Snohomish, Washington, and it was getting dusky and kind of spooky looking. I remember it as though it were yesterday.

It took me about a year to earn my private pilot certificate; then I decided to become an instructor, so I added the commercial, CFI, and CFII. In May 2002 I flew solo across the Atlantic Ocean in a Columbia 300, to honor my grandfather's historic flight from New York to Paris 75 years earlier.

And I'm not finished yet. Like you, I want my aviation horizons always to be expanding. I'd love to see our planet from space — I dreamed of that as a kid, flying Estes model rockets from a neighbor's field. I think that dream is much closer now. I've been involved in the X Prize Foundation, and I will become a founding pilot in the Rocket-Racing League. Even as I mentor others now, I'm being mentored myself in this exciting next generation of aircraft.

Because I want others to share my passion for flight, I've joined the AOPA Project Pilot team. Just as my grandfather's nonstop flight across the Atlantic in 1927 created a huge interest in flying, we must help create a new generation of GA pilots. Without more pilots, not even AOPA can keep GA strong — and that will ultimately have a big effect on every pilot. But if we all pitch in, together we can make a big difference.

This is your chance to encourage someone to become a pilot. Becoming an AOPA Project Pilot Mentor is your opportunity — and your responsibility.

All you have to do is identify somebody with an interest in learning to fly — a friend, family member, or coworker with the time and wherewithal to earn a certificate. As a Project Pilot Mentor your knowledge of aviation and your own rich experiences in learning to fly will be invaluable to a potential new pilot. Think of the difference you can make for your student as you help this person find a flight school and schedule an introductory lesson. Then encourage, motivate, and guide your student through the training process. You will not be his flight instructor, just a friend there with good advice when needed.

That's all there is to it. The payoff is huge, and the benefits will last you and the new pilot a lifetime. Through your student, you can relive your first takeoff, first solo, and other achievements — and you'll be helping to grow aviation at the same time.

Join me in AOPA Project Pilot, and become a Mentor today. To learn more about the program, and sign up a new student for Project Pilot, see the Web site. Your participation will take only a few minutes each week — it costs you nothing but gives you the tremendous pride of knowing you helped expand general aviation and fostered the dream of flight in another person that will last a lifetime.


10 Steps to Making a Pilot

You can make someone's dreams come true

BY JULIE SUMMERS WALKER

Do you remember how you became a pilot? Of course you do. Of all the stories submitted to AOPA Pilot the most universal theme is about becoming a pilot. Members love to tell of their first solo, of their first cross-country, of their joy at passing the checkride. As the managing editor of Pilot, I read a lot of these accounts — I mean a lot. And most of the time I must respond to the member by saying, "Congratulations on your (fill in the blank). Thanks for sharing your story, but the editors cannot use your story at this time."

If you want to tell your story about becoming a pilot, I have the perfect audience for you — a prospective student. Standing outside your airport fence right now is someone who would love it if you'd ask him (or her) in and regale him with your adventures in the sky. He wants to be like you. He wants to become a pilot too.

The AOPA Project Pilot program, now more than 12 years old and with successes of more than 38,000 new pilots and 27,000 Mentors, invites you to share your story with a prospective pilot as we re-energize this successful program, leveraging the latest technology. You can be a Mentor in many ways; some Mentors are very involved from the introductory flight to the passing of the checkride. Others simply offer the all-important first handshake — "Welcome to the airport. Can I answer any questions?"

With the help of some of our Project Pilot success stories — members like you — here are 10 steps to helping someone become a pilot...just like you.

1. Who wants to be a pilot?

Identifying someone who would like to be and who would make a good candidate to become a pilot is as easy as starting a conversation at a cocktail party or by the office water cooler. It's also as easy as visiting www.AOPAProject Pilot.org.

Here's a great example: Adam Donaldson, AOPA 4743470, of Mount Airy, Maryland, was browsing the AOPA Web site just after joining the association in January 2003. He was an avid personal-computer flight-simulator "pilot" and joined AOPA for its magazines and Web site information. He noticed a message on AOPA's message board from a coworker, Darren Pralle, AOPA 4069536, of Derwood, Maryland, whom he had never met. Making contact, Donaldson discovered Pralle not only worked for the same company, but also they worked on the same floor in the same building.

"Adam sent me an e-mail and we started talking about flying," says Pralle. "I took him up for a flight, and he was hooked."

"After that flight, I knew I wanted to learn how to fly," says Donaldson. "I began taking lessons in September and Darren signed up to be my Mentor around the same time."

Trey Gordon, AOPA 4068113, and Gordy Durler, AOPA 5077197, then neighbors in Waukesha, Wisconsin, started talking at a party and Durler volunteered to be a passenger anytime Gordon went flying. "I had started lessons 14 years before but had stopped after eight hours of instruction," says Durler. "We scheduled a re-intro flight and it was all I could think about. After, I was motivated once again to learn to fly."

"I encouraged Gordy to get back into flying — he re-caught the flying bug after our flight," says Gordon. "That's how my mentoring got started; it made me feel great that I got someone into flying."

2. Meeting and greeting.

As a Mentor, your first contact with a prospective pilot is very important. First impressions often make lasting impressions. It seems simple; you've been approached at the water cooler or stopped on your way to your airplane and the question is asked — "what's it like to fly?"

Paul Martin, AOPA 5109275, of Rutherfordton, North Carolina, started talking to his manager at work, Randy Reavis, AOPA 1354343, of Forest City, North Carolina, about flying. "He had gotten his pilot certificate a few years earlier and would talk about flying and how much fun it was," says Martin. "He loaned me some of his aviation magazines and offered to let me fly with him when we got the chance."

3. Welcome to aviation.

Here's your chance to tell all — to describe what you went through to become a pilot. And when I say "went through," I don't mean this is the time for horror hangar stories — save those for another time. This is when you talk about the joys of flying and some of the nuts and bolts of learning to fly. Julia Ryan, AOPA 5252493, of Norwalk, Connecticut, met her Mentor, Clark Burgard, AOPA 4072508, of Greenwich, Connecticut, in September 2003.

"He told me the story of how he got started," says Ryan. "How his friend who was a pilot flew him to Block Island [off the coast of Rhode Island] in only 45 minutes and Clark's exclamation of, 'I have to do this!' when they landed. Clark had spent his childhood making the four-hour one-way trek for vacations. Flying opened up a world of possibilities. He dedicated himself to overcoming his fear of heights, taking early morning flight lessons before work, and got his certificate in only a few short months."

4. Want to go flying?

Ah, the first flight. Even for the most gung-ho want-to-be pilot, the first flight is critical. It needs to answer many needs, foremost being what it is the prospective pilot believes flying should be like. In other words, now is not the time to show off your aerobatic skills or your stoicism in the face of questionable weather. We've all heard the stories about someone's terrible first experience in an airplane — the enthusiastic husband who wanted to impress his wife by showing her how he can recover from a stall; the recovery she doesn't remember, the blaring of the stall horn she does. Or the friendly aviator who took his friend to see his home from the air and the bank of his turn was so steep, the passenger tossed his lunch. It's your job to make the experience comfortable, safe, and enjoyable. No super-pilot antics needed.

"I remember not knowing for sure if this little airplane would hoist me off the ground," recalls Adam Donaldson. "It did. I asked to be shown steep turns, which was a mistake. After those turns, my stomach turned. I got the cold sweats and just wanted to return to the ground. But I toughed it out."

5. Portrait of a flight instructor.

Mentoring does not mean becoming your prospective student's flight instructor, although members have both mentored and instructed through the AOPA Project Pilot program. However, helping your student choose an instructor and/or validating his or her choice of an instructor is exactly the role a Mentor can play.

"Darren actually helped me shop for an instructor," says Donaldson. "I was trying to find the most cost-effective way to learn to fly, but I didn't want to put myself in danger. So the first thing Darren helped me to do was analyze those offering lessons in my area. He even accompanied me when I went to interview Frank Schmidt at Davis airport in Laytonsville, Maryland. Frank eventually became my instructor."

6. Lessons.

And now it begins. Whether you are flying left seat with your student or flying the armchair at home, your mentoring role is a valuable part of the student's learning scenario.

"I would fly with Trey during this period, and this helped me see how he did cross-country navigation and other items before I had to do them with my instructor," says Gordy Durler. "This helped take the edge off any anxieties. Trey had to move because of a job change, but we continued to talk by phone and he offered postflight analysis of my major milestones. When he came back into town he even rode along on one of my lessons. He was harder on me than the instructor, which made us all laugh. A true backseat instructor."

7. Of course you can do it.

Uh-oh. The can't do its have arrived. They may have appeared in the face of an instructor moving on, a challenge the student believes he or she can't overcome, such as landings, or any number of other obstacles now interfering with your student's dream. You remember these. Now more than ever is the time to tell your student what obstacles you went through and how you overcame them. And if you sailed right through without a hitch — lucky you — ask your fellow pilots for advice or, better yet, ask the AOPA Project Pilot program! The AOPA Project Pilot Web site provides Mentors with a wide range of assistance, including the top 10 obstacles in flight training and effective ways to address each one.

"I ran into an issue that required some medical tests and additional paperwork, so my solo was delayed from the end of December 2003 until July 2004," says Julia Ryan. "It was tough staying motivated, tough continuing to spend the money necessary for training to keep my skills up, all the while continuing to hope it would all work out in the end. Clark's support and encouragement were part of what kept me going."

8. Bookwork.

Everyone who is out on the field wants to fly. No one wants to stay inside and read the lesson books and the Aeronautical Information Manual, or at least I haven't met anyone who does — and I'm not sure we'd have much in common! But this is a critical part of the process and another place you as the Mentor can really shine.

"I shared my instructional CDs with Gordy, as well as other written test prep materials," says Trey Gordon. "We discussed test topics often over many beers at each other's house."

"I must have logged 50 hours or so in Darren's office asking him questions," says Adam Donaldson.

9. The solo.

It's the solo where you can celebrate the achievements of your student with scissors to T-shirt or where you can provide the most encouragement yet in the becoming-a-pilot process. This is another place where the can't do its show their ugly faces. They are often joined by the equally unattractive I'm not readies. As the Mentor, you are often on the outside looking in. You can see the places where your student is really excelling, even when all he or she sees is gloom and doom.

"I had previously arranged to have Gordy's instructor call me when he was going to solo," says Trey Gordon. "When I got the call I scrambled Gordy's wife and kids and another friend. We all went and watched him fly and surprised him after. We took some great movies and photos. I think I was more excited than Gordy to see his three beautiful landings. I felt like a proud father."

10. Checkride!

It's time. The instructor knows it; the test scores tell it; as the Mentor you see it, and hopefully the student knows it too.

All the talking, the coaching, the praising have come to this. Make sure you tell your student that the FAA examiner doesn't have two heads and horns. Make sure you tell your student the FAA examiner wants him to be a pilot as much as you and he do. Be there. Whether close by the phone or at the field.

"I got severe test-itis," says Adam Donaldson. "My Mentor, Darren, was able to quiz me continuously for the week prior to my practical exam. Thanks to Darren and another friend I was very prepared for the oral portion. I struggled on the short-field landing — let's just say that if the designated examiner had any loose fillings, they would have been lying on the carpet of the [Cessna] 150. In the end I passed. On my arrival at the airport to pick up my certificate, I saw Darren in the parking lot. He had surprised me and showed up to congratulate me. Lucky for us, I passed."

For complete information on the AOPA Project Pilot program see " How It Works," below, or visit the Web site.


E-mail the author at julie.walker@aopa.org.


Additional information about the Project Pilot program and video of several interviews may be found online.


How It Works

  1. Find someone who is interested in learning to fly.
  2. Arrange for an introductory flight; encourage him or her to start flying.
  3. Visit the Web site to sign up.
  4. Provide the name and e-mail address of the student pilot you will mentor.

You will receive a confirmation e-mail and your student will receive an e-mail invitation to join AOPA Project Pilot. Once your student confirms, you both will receive a resource kit in the mail.

The resource kit for a Mentor includes:

  • A greeting from AOPA Project Pilot spokesman Erik Lindbergh.
  • A personal letter from AOPA President Phil Boyer.
  • An AOPA Project Pilot mouse pad.
  • AOPA decals for your car or airplane.
  • An AOPA Project Pilot brochure — to help you find even more students!

The resource kit for a student includes:

  • A greeting from AOPA Project Pilot spokesman Erik Lindbergh.
  • A personal letter from AOPA President Phil Boyer.
  • An exciting and informative DVD to get started.
  • Invitation to Fly — a special magazine for future pilots.
  • AOPA Project Pilot decals for the student's car or airplane.

As a Mentor, you will receive two additional entries in AOPA's annual sweepstakes for each student you mentor. And when the student passes his or her checkride, you will receive a limited-edition AOPA Project Pilot mentor cap to show off your success and commitment to the future of general aviation. You can't buy this hat. It has to be earned.

You and your student should visit the Web site frequently. There you can find valuable information for every stage of flight training, search for a flight school or aviation medical examiner, track your student's progress online, and celebrate key milestones. — JSW


'I Am a Pilot'

Certificate in hand, this photographer explores the world

BY CAMERON LAWSON

Cameron Lawson is an accomplished rock and ice climber, whitewater kayaker, backcountry skier, professional photographer — and pilot. His photos have appeared often in AOPA Pilot. Because Lawson combines his love of flight with his career in photography Pilot asked him to share his story about becoming a pilot and how aviation has changed his life — an inspiring story about the joy of becoming a pilot. As an AOPA Project Pilot Mentor you have the opportunity to help prospective pilots realize their own aviation dreams. Pass Lawson's story on to someone who would appreciate this invitation. — Editors

Aviation has brought so much joy to my life. There's the knowledge of the aircraft and its systems, the constantly changing weather, the skill of piloting an airplane, the beauty from a bird's-eye point of view, and the people you meet along the way. Aviation is a grand adventure, and I can't imagine life without it.

Numerous pilots in Idaho, Montana, and Alaska have had a big influence on my interest in aviation — pilots such as Paul Roderick at Talkeetna Air Taxi in Alaska, whom I've flown with numerous times on five different climbing expeditions into the Alaska Range. Also, Lori MacNichol at McCall Mountain Canyon Flying in Idaho. I met Lori during a photography job for AOPA Pilot a couple of years ago. We've stayed in touch, and she's been inspirational and given me lots of great advice, particularly on flying the backcountry. I like the environment these pilots work in, both on the ground and in the air. They are my mentors, whether they are aware of it or not. From them I've learned that endless amounts of knowledge can be gained by flying in rugged country with unpredictable weather; they've also taught me how to use an aircraft to visit locations that are otherwise inaccessible. In short, aviation is a way to experience great adventures and connect to people I enjoy.

The dream

My interest in aviation began at age 4, while growing up in Anchorage. My family lived near Lake Hood, the epicenter for single-engine aircraft in Alaska. My dad and I frequently would ride bikes around the lake and look at the myriad airplanes: beautiful Cessna 185s on floats and 180s; de Havilland Beavers and Otters; American Champion Citabrias; experimentals; Piper Super Cubs with monster tundra tires that were bigger than I; and sorry-looking ramp queens that were falling apart in front of our eyes. Watching the airplanes leave the Earth and buzz around in the sky made me dream of what it would be like to fly.

I spent high school summers as a line attendant at Rust's Flying Service on Lake Hood. My duties consisted of fueling, preflighting, and loading a fleet of floatplanes, mainly Cessna 206s and Beavers. The work wasn't glamorous, but I enjoyed being close to the airplanes, and talking to the pilots. Plus, there was the contagious excitement of worldwide travelers waiting to hop aboard and venture into the Alaskan wilderness.

Throughout college at the University of Utah, I became more involved in mountaineering. For a summer, I was an assistant guide on Denali, North America's highest mountain peak at 20,320 feet. The majority of climbing expeditions there get a jump-start by flying into Kahiltna base camp at 7,200 feet. Landing on and taking off from glaciers increased my excitement about airplanes and flying.

Strapped into a Cessna 185, my climbing companions and I would depart the lowlands of Talkeetna and fly into the magnificent mountain kingdom of the Alaska Range. The one-hour flight is an adventure in itself and is full of visual stimulation: Rock cliffs puncture a sea of jumbled glaciers; massive crevasses, which could easily swallow semitrucks, disappear into nothingness; and serrated ridges cut through the sky. The pilots who flew us to these wondrous places were my mentors and my inspiration.

Each of these encounters with aviation rekindled the dream of one day experiencing the thrill of piloting an aircraft. But there was a hitch in my plan; I didn't have any money. My early 20s' income came from a window-cleaning business, doing construction, waiting tables, and working on a fishing boat in southeast Alaska. At the same time, I was a starving artist trying to break into photography and make it a full-time career.

Hooked on aviation

Fast-forward to September 2002. Elbow grease had panned out. I was able to ditch all my side jobs and become a full-time photographer. Having saved enough money, I decided then to make my aviation dream a reality. I walked into a flight school in Salt Lake City and signed up for lessons. From day one, I was hooked. Everything relating to the airplane was fascinating. With the encouragement and help from other pilots, I had a pilot certificate within three months. I fulfilled my dream to become a pilot and in the process realized a new dream: aerial photography. As expected, having the ability to shoot photos from the air opens up a lot of possibilities. I've photographed air-to-air images of other airplanes, shot various aerial landscapes in Alaska, Chile, Utah, Montana, and Idaho. Plus, a few years ago I had the opportunity to fly into Kennecott's awesome Bingham Canyon Mine near Salt Lake City and photograph one of the world's largest pit mines.

Over the course of the next two years, I flew when I could and took additional training. I received my tailwheel endorsement at Merrill Field, Alaska, in July 2003, and did some spin training in a Super Decathlon soon afterward.

My appetite for aviation grew stronger. I wanted to take the next step, and began looking to purchase an airplane. I was constantly looking at Trade-A-Plane, talking to other pilots, and surfing the Internet. After a photo assignment in Alaska, I drove to all the local strips — Hood, Merrill, Wasilla, and Girdwood — and looked at every airplane with a For Sale sign on it. After looking at all the pluses and minuses of different aircraft, I settled on what I thought would be a perfect airplane for me: a Cessna 170 with a 180-horsepower engine.

After much searching, I found a beautiful 1951 Cessna 170A with the Lycoming O-360 conversion in Parker, Arizona, just south of Lake Havasu on the California-Arizona border. I brought along a mechanic for the prebuy inspection to give me a heads-up on what to expect. I traded a cashier's check for keys, and climbed into N1787D. As I taxied down to Runway 1 with my instructor, Marshall Burr, I was giddy with excitement. I couldn't believe I was actually in my own airplane; I had thought that airplane ownership was further away than the moon. Little did I know, this 170 was the gateway to some awesome adventures.

Memories in an airplane

Although I had little cross-country experience, one of my dreams was to fly to Alaska and climb Denali. Doing some research, talking to pilots, and watching a flying-to-Alaska video helped prepare me for the adventure. On May 25, 2005, I departed my home base in Bozeman, Montana, headed northbound. I remember I had a pit in my stomach. Frankly, I was scared about what I was getting myself into. I was a low-time pilot and didn't have much tailwheel time.

Many questions were going through my mind, mostly about weather. For instance, what if I got into heavy turbulence, or the destination airport had strong and gusty crosswinds? What if the airplane broke down? Could I do it? Anytime claws dig into my stomach and a pool of uneasiness ebbs into my brain, I know I'm embarking on a memorable adventure. The experience is similar to climbing mountains, where the unknown is always lurking. I loaded the airplane and was ready to journey to Alaska.

After opening my flight plan, and receiving clearance to take off, I pushed in the throttle. As the wheels left Gallatin Field in Bozeman, the white wings of my Cessna 170 cut through a bluebird sky. Soft, early morning light grazed the green farmland below. I opened up my thermos and poured a cup of coffee. I felt so lucky to have the opportunity. At the age of 35, it was the perfect time to go for it. I didn't have a family, and I knew that if I had kids this opportunity would be a little tougher to pull off. Plus, I had a three-week window between jobs.

In 2,500 miles of flying, the topography changes greatly. The farmland around Bozeman transforms into rolling forested hills, and eventually into very mountainous terrain near the incredibly blue Kluane Lake, located near Haines Junction, Yukon Territory, Canada. The journey will forever be etched in my memory.

Continuing challenges

A few months after returning from the Alaska trip, I was in between photo assignments and itching to fly into the Idaho backcountry. Perhaps it was growing up in Alaska where there are many bush planes or my interest in climbing mountains, but one of my goals in aviation was to be a solid mountain pilot. I like the risk involved, the beautiful mountainous terrain, and the places an aircraft can take you.

Since I had earned my pilot certificate, I had read virtually every mountain-flying book available and had probed all my pilot friends for information on the subject. There's very little room for error in mountainous terrain, so it's good to be as prepared as possible. I took some lessons from Ben Walton at Summit Aviation in Bozeman. Plus, I had the opportunity to ride in the backseat of a 172 while covering mountain flying in Idaho for AOPA Pilot. Between clicks of the shutter, I observed the techniques used to fly into a few strips.

I had been checking the weather and winds in Idaho for a couple of weeks. I wanted perfect conditions for my first real mountain excursion. One cool fall morning the weather was ideal. I hopped into the 170 with the hope of landing at some Idaho backcountry strips. But along with that, I was carrying no expectations. If I didn't feel comfortable, I wouldn't land. Period.

I started with easier strips such as Johnson Creek and moved up the ladder in difficulty. I did three passes over Mile-Hi, and decided I would come back for that strip at a later date, and likely with an instructor. Because mountain strips are usually short and demand precise approaches, I found that this exercise boosted my confidence. Over the weekend I landed at 19 different dirt strips, and flew away with a lot of hands-on knowledge.

Recently I signed up for instrument training, and it looks like I have my work cut out for me. Hats off to the pilots who have this rating under their belts — these pilots are my inspiration. Looking over the en route charts is so foreign, but I look forward to the challenge of learning this aspect of flying. Diving into this training confirms my belief that there is an endless amount of knowledge to be had in aviation. It also makes me realize that sharing my enthusiasm for flight is a welcome by-product of earning a pilot certificate. I'm thankful for those who have inspired me and hope my passion inspires others. As an AOPA Project Pilot Mentor, you, too, can introduce some-one to the life-changing experience of learning to fly.