AOPA Project Pilot provides members with the tools to find viable flight-training candidates and support them as student pilots with the wisdom and encouragement of experienced pilots through mentoring. A student with a Project Pilot Mentor is three times more likely to successfully complete his or her training. This exciting program is available free to all AOPA members. You don’t have to be a CFI to participate. All it takes is someone who wants to share the joy of general aviation and a few minutes a week to help a student along.
Even though I have been around aircraft all my life, I did not get my private pilot certificate until I was 75. My father taught himself to fly in 1922 so I was exposed to flying my whole life, yet while my father was an instructor, I never took advantage of it until he was gone. I am 78 now and I realize how exciting it must be for my AOPA Project Pilot student John Manos to have earned his certificate.
Manos, an AOPA member for more than 25 years, began flying lessons years ago and has since been nursing the dream of becoming a private pilot. Business and a bustling schedule, including raising a family, always got in the way of fulfilling that dream.
Finally, in retirement, Manos reached out to AOPA Project Pilot where he found me; his mentor, and it all began to come together.
He was making slow progress until I suggested a change in flight instructors. Manos decided to go with one I had used and in a short time we were preparing for his check ride together.
I had a ball. Manos and I have become friends and I found the mentoring experience to be delightful. I am ready for the next student. I learned why Project Pilot is so important.
Students can go over things and ask questions they might otherwise not ask their instructor.
With my assistance and patient coaching, Manos passed his check ride at age 71 to become a private pilot on November 24, 2007. He never lost his original desire and he worked very hard to finally get his certificate.
Don Brann, AOPA 5352396
Mills River, North Carolina
We welcome your photos. Although we can’t guarantee publication, we encourage you to e-mail photos to [email protected] or call 800-USA-AOPA (800-872-2672). For more information or to nominate someone for AOPA Project Pilot, please go to the Web site.