By AOPA ePublishing staff
When 18-year-old Matthew Thomas was invited to take a ride with police Sgt. James Blair, it wasn’t in the back of a police cruiser—it was in Blair’s Piper Cherokee 160.
Thomas, a friend of Blair’s teenage daughter, enjoyed the flight so much that he went back for several more, and Blair became his AOPA Project Pilot mentor. Now Blair is being rewarded for sharing the joy of flight as the winner of the final fourth quarter random drawing for $1,000 gift card to be used for aviation-related expenses.
Thomas is not the only person whose interest in aviation has been fed by flight time with Blair, who spent six years managing the Little Rock, Ark., police department’s aviation unit before budget restraints closed it down. “If somebody wants to go, I love to take them,” Blair said of his frequent flights with friends and coworkers.
Blair, who has about 1,000 flight hours and is working on his instrument rating under the tutelage of his flight-instructor son, says he will use his Project Pilot winnings to buy fuel and “something for the airplane.”
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February 13, 2008