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Celebrating resiliency in a time of turmoil

Changes to Flight Training Experience Awards focus on community

Flight schools and instructors across the country have been vying for top status in the annual AOPA Flight Training Experience Awards for several years, hoping their students will highlight them in an online survey.

The awards are the Michelin stars in a flight school’s or instructor’s pedigree, a “Best” designation on their doorway or website denoting a Zagat-worthy location. But, like so much of the world in this COVID-19 climate, the awards are not the same this year.

AOPA’s You Can Fly program will not have an awards ceremony or designate top status this year, but there will still be a celebration through the Flight Training Experience Project.

“Even though many schools have had to close their doors during the pandemic, we believe it is important to celebrate the value and significance of the flight training community in this difficult time,” said Chris Moser, AOPA senior director of flight training education. “With the project, we will highlight the inspiring stories of the flight training community, which has come together in support of one another to overcome the obstacles of COVID-19 and a struggling economy, and proved resilient in the face of adversity.”

The Flight Training Experience Project is soliciting video stories from the flight training community that show the people who inspire and demonstrate the resilience of the industry. Schools, students, and instructors are asked to record a 45-second or less video and post it on social media (YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or TikTok) with hashtag #FTEProject. Some of those videos and stories will be highlighted at the annual Redbird Migration event in October and through AOPA’s news and media channels.

“Instead of fostering competition, we believe this is the moment to build community, and we are excited to celebrate and recognize the vital work of flight schools,” Moser said.

Julie Walker
Julie Summers Walker
AOPA Senior Features Editor
AOPA Senior Features Editor Julie Summers Walker joined AOPA in 1998. She is a student pilot still working toward her solo.
Topics: You Can Fly, Flight School, COVID19

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