James Miles, a retired U.S. Air Force reserve officer, has donated his Tecnam light sport aircraft to the AOPA Foundation. The effort is operated under the auspices of the foundation’s new aircraft donation program, Give Wings.
Pilots who donate their aircraft to the AOPA Foundation can make a big difference in the future of general aviation. It takes virtually no time, effort, or expense. Donors feel good about helping preserve the freedom to fly, they get a nice tax break, and they easily find a new home for that beloved airplane they're no longer flying.
Miles, now 84 years old, didn’t get his private pilot certificate until he was 60. He took a break from flying, coming back at age 82, when he bought the Tecnam after previously owning several different aircraft types. “I got my private in my Cessna 172. I decided to get my instrument rating, so I bought a Mooney 201,” he said. “I then had a Mooney TLS and ended up buying a Piper Malibu Mirage, a six-passenger pressurized aircraft that I used because of my wife’s health.”
After undergoing a triple heart bypass, Miles sold the Malibu and stared glider pilot training. “I bought a Super Ximango, a popular motorized glider and flew that for a few years and also took additional flight training in pure gliders,” he said. “I finally gave up flying and got into boating for 10 years. I then moved over to flying LSAs because of my health.”
Miles flew the Tecnam for two years. “But my health, combined with the prevailing weather in low latitudes where I live in Jacksonville, Fla., made it hard for me to fly enough to be a safe pilot,” he said. “Whatever flying I do in the future will be with instructors. I’ll try and fly a few times a month.
“So I’m giving the airplane to the foundation. I could not think of a better place to let it go than to the AOPA Foundation,” said Miles.
Such generous gifts can go a long way in helping the foundation take on the utmost challenging programs that protect general aviation—programs like the Air Safety Institute and the Center to Advance the Pilot Community. Membership dues alone can’t support these important programs, and so donations play an extremely critical role in helping take on general aviation’s most challenging issues. For more information, visit the AOPA Foundation.