Courageous Flier Has Patience Rewarded

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Tommy, our latest Courageous Flier, was first scheduled to fly in August but the weather didn’t cooperate. When he and his mom Angie arrived at Indianapolis Regional Airport for another try, the conditions again seemed a little ominous: cold and overcast, with icing in the forecast. In the weather center, flight instructor Caleb Franks explained that the winds were calm and that cold, stable air actually makes for a very smooth ride. The overcast was high and they’d be staying well clear of any ice so all in all, it was a great day to fly.

After the weather briefing, they took a look at Google maps and Tommy was excited to find a couple of landmarks to look for on their aerial tour: Tommy’s school and the high school where his mother works.

Out on the flight line, Tommy came along on the inspection so Caleb could show him the different parts of the aircraft and describe what pilots look for when they check the plane over before flying. Everything looked good, so it was time for Tommy, who lost a family member to an illness earlier this year, to climb into the co-pilot’s seat and earn his wings.

The Cessna 172 touched down a half-hour or so later just as some small ice pellets started falling at the airport.  The conditions were still completely safe and Tommy thought it was a cool end to his flight. Back inside at Indy Regional, Flight1 founder Marcus Strawhorn helped Tommy log his time and presented him with his certificate and wings.

Aviation pioneer Amelia Earhart said, “The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity. The fears are paper tigers. You can do anything you decide to do. You can act to change and control your life; and the procedure, the process is its own reward.” Our mission is to use aviation to instill that kind of self-confidence in our Courageous Fliers. Participating in ongoing Flight1 experiences makes a real difference in their lives and you can help make it happen. Please click here to learn more about sponsoring a child in our program.

– Russell Goutierez

Photos: Steven Fleenor