Able Flight Delivers Our Most Memorable Oshkosh Moment

Able Flight pilot Randy Green

Able Flight pilots from the Class of 2015 on the Main Stage at this year’s EAA Airventure.

Amid the wall-to-wall schedule of activities at Oshkosh, the most memorable moment for us was the Able Flight Wing Pinning Ceremony. ForeFlight proudly sponsors flight training scholarships for Able Flight, a non-profit organization that enables people with disabilities to challenge themselves through flight and aviation career training. Able Flight pilots achieve aviation goals some might say are impossible.

Tyson Weihs, our CEO and co-founder, had the honor of pinning wings on pilot Randy Green at this year’s EAA Airventure. Randy is an incredible gentleman who was born without hands or feet. His lifelong, unflinching desire to be a pilot and his many aviation accomplishments speak to how he doesn’t let his disability stop him from achieving his goals.

Able Flight pilot Randy Green about to get his wings

ForeFlight CEO and co-founder, Tyson Weihs, joins pilot Randy Green on stage for the Wing Pinning ceremony.

Able Flight pilot Randy Green gets his Able Flight wings

Able Flight pilot Randy Green receives his wings from ForeFlight’s Tyson Weihs.

Randy’s dreams of becoming a pilot began in an Ercoupe that his father purchased so he and his brother could learn to fly. Taking those childhood dreams and turning them into a career, Randy earned his Private Pilot certificate in 1994 and quickly continued on to gain instrument, commercial, multi-engine and flight instructor ratings. Randy doesn’t use any special adapted equipment to operate hand controls and in his first year instructing he logged more than 1000 hours teaching others to fly.

Randy’s ultimate goal was to become a Corporate Pilot and after logging the hours, ratings, and showing others that he could do just about anything, he set his sights on completing his Air Transport Pilot rating. With the help of the Able Flight Career Training Scholarship, Randy passed his ATP check-ride in April of this year.

A recent job opportunity took Randy, his wife, and two daughters to Idaho where he now flies a corporate plane for a locally based company. Randy’s story is truly inspirational and a testament to never giving up on your dreams. Congratulations Randy on all of your accomplishments, we know there will be many more to come!


Summer Flying for EAA-ForeFlight Scholarship Winners

School is out for summer and our scholarship recipients, Jacob Rasmussen and Megan Kerstein, are already back in the air. If you missed our first follow up with these two, read part one here. Although this Spring brought some challenging weather, Jacob and Megan remained focused on their pursuit of flight.


Megan Kerstein

No pool parties and sleeping in for Megan this summer break as she switched hats from full time student to flying humanitarian. Megan is spending her summer on an environmental science/justice internship in Alaska. The organization she is interning with helps indigenous Alaskans and other community members to prevent environmental destruction on their lands. Megan explained that it’s not all work and no play; she’s expanding her flight experience by taking some lessons with Artic’s Air Academy in Palmer, Alaska. Megan reports that “the scenery is absolutely incredible!”


Where are you in your training now?

I’m prepping for my solo currently.

Has there been a flight that sticks out in your mind so far?

My most recent flight in Alaska sticks out in my mind. I’ve never been at the flight controls through mountain terrain, so that was pretty exciting! We flew through mountain passes and then ended up over the Prince William Sound, a gorgeous body of water. We flew over several glaciers on the way to the Sound. The whole experience was unreal!

What’s your favorite part of flying?

That’s a tough one. I love the exhilaration of taking off, but I also love getting up to cruise altitude and taking in the scenery around me while interacting with the flight controls and navigating the plane. For me, cruise flight is when all my skills come together, which is really energizing.

What’s next? Do you have new goals for what you would like to do with your pilots license?

I’m going to fly a couple times a week in Alaska, which should bring me very close to finishing up. From there, I’d love to take some of my friends up and hope that the aviation bug bites them. I just really want to inspire others to get involved in aviation to some degree. I would love to be a mentor for the Women Soar You Soar Program held at Oshkosh AirVenture every year, as that program was very meaningful to me as a participant.

Blog-JacobRasmussen-1Jacob Rasmussen

Congratulations are in order for Jacob—when we caught up with him, we found out that he has been accepted into EAA’s Advanced Air Academy SportAir Camp to take place following this year’s AirVenture in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. At this camp Jacob will have the opportunity to gain hands-on experience with composite construction, fabric covering techniques and ground flight training.


Where are you in your training?

Due to scheduling, weather and other obstacles the last couple of months have been especially difficult getting in hours, however I am working hard on bookwork and ground instruction. I have a total of 18 hours as pilot in command, 1.5 hours of solo time and I am about to embark on my second cross-country flight with my instructor.

Has there been a flight that sticks out in your mind so far?

As empowering and memorable as one’s first solo must be and is, the one flight that has stuck in my mind the most would have to be the first with my instructor. From being pilot in command, radioing the tower, taking off, all the way to wrestling the airplane back to earth, with a death grip on the yoke and my eyes fixated on the runway. I imagine the experience to be like what a rookie naval pilot would have when landing his first F-16 on an aircraft carrier in the middle of a typhoon…it was exhilarating. It was my first glimpse into what many believe to be an impossibility or a mere dream that only the most well off and elite can aspire to fulfill. When in actuality it is more easily obtainable and by no means impossible as one might think. With just a little dedication of one’s time and resources, as well as a true desire to follow through, anything is possible within aviation.

What’s your favorite part of flying?

My absolute favorite part of flying is the feeling of accomplishment and knowledge I get when completing each step to the goal of becoming a private pilot.

What’s next? Do you have new goals for what you would like to do with your pilots license?

My plans as of now, are to continue pursuing aviation as a hobby and potential carrier for the future to help serve my community. I would love to (hopefully in the near future)  learn to fly helicopters while continuing along my training of fixed wing aircraft. My only warning to those who may be interested in flying is that when you start you will never want to quit and if you do quit you will wish every clear day of your life that you hadn’t given it up.

We’ll be checking back in with Jacob and Megan once they’ve officially received their licenses. Until then, we wish them the best of luck with their summer activities that will help take their aviation skills and knowledge to new heights.

Where Are They Now: 2014 EAA ForeFlight Scholarship Winners

After naming our two recipients of the EAA ForeFlight Scholarship back in July, they wasted no time starting their aviation adventure. We caught up with Megan and Jacob recently and asked them a few questions about their flight training so far. Sit back, buckle up, we’re going to flight school!


Megan Kerstein
With more interests than hours in her day, Megan set the bar high with lofty goals in mind for her pilot license. Becoming a flight surgeon or aviation medicine physician and volunteering for Angel Flight and Young Eagles were just a few things on her list to combine her two passions. Now, as a full time college student, Megan has officially added flight training to her extracurricular activities. In mid-September, Megan began her flight training at Air Associates of Missouri in St. Louis and online ground school through the Cessna/King Schools training program.

What has been the most exciting thing so far in your flight training?
Megan: It’s been really exciting to see how I progress from week to week. My first few lessons the instructor helped me pre-flight the plane, and now I do it all by myself. I’ve also learned how to talk to air traffic control, which I was initially nervous about, but I’ve gotten much more comfortable with doing it.

Has there been anything unexpected or that you have been surprised by in your training?
Megan: I’ve been surprised with all the factors that go into making a flight–beyond simply getting in the plane with the instructor and heading up to the sky. There’s a lot of preflight planning to look into, weather to check (and keep checking), fuel to check, the aircraft itself which must be meticulously inspected prior to flight, FAA airspace rules to understand, etc. Some of these things I would never have thought of prior to taking flight lessons, but now I better understand the intricacies of all of the “behind-the-scenes” work that goes into making a safe flight.

What have you learned so far?
Megan: I have learned about slow flight, stall recovery maneuvers, landings, pre-flighting the airplane, Air Traffic Control communication, and weight and balance calculations. Flight lessons have also been a great way to learn more about the topography of St. Louis/Missouri. This has helped with VFR flying, since I now know markers I can follow to get back to the airport, such as following the Missouri River.

Overall Megan loves flight training: “I look forward to my weekly lessons and next semester my class schedule allows me to take lessons during the week, so I’ll probably fly a couple of times a week.” said Kerstein. She is looking forward to an upcoming sightseeing-oriented flight where they will fly by the St. Louis Arch, “which will be pretty cool.” Yes, very cool, Megan, and you are one step closer to becoming a licensed private pilot!

Jacob Solo-Millionaire
Jacob Rasmussen
Seventeen year old Jacob Rasmussen may not know exactly what he wants to do with his license, but he knows he wants to be in the air and that is just fine with us. Jacob searched carefully to find the perfect instructor—a decorated military pilot of 35 years who owns flight schools around the Washington area. Here’s what Jacob shared with us about his experience so far…

How did you select your flight training?
Jacob: When initially starting my search for a flight instructor, I wanted to make sure that I would be able to find just the right instructor to train with. I had hoped for someone with some form of military background. Through becoming more involved and establishing relationships within the aviation community, I was eventually able to find who I was looking for and became well acquainted with Don Karpen of Karpen Aviation. Don was a US Naval fighter pilot and Top Gun graduate. He has racked up well over 12,000 hours total time, with over 8,000 hours as an instructor. As soon as we met and I had an orientation flight, I knew he was the best choice.

Where are you in your training and what have you learned so far?
Jacob: I started with my first lesson on November 14, and since have completed 11 hours total time thus far, with 1.1 hours of it being soloing. Within those 11 hours, I have made 53 landings. I have completed approximately 2/3 of my ground school training and am absorbing all of what I learn very quickly. Being in command of an aircraft has taught me to become very assertive, not only in the airplane itself, but also on the ground and everyday life.

Has there been anything unexpected or that you have been surprised by in your training?
Jacob: The most surprising thing has to be how quick I took to the airplane. Through just a little application of knowledge and perseverance, it has become almost second nature to be defying gravity in an aluminum tube with a bucket seat, powered by a lawnmower engine. I am very appreciative of the opportunity ForeFlight has given me to have the ability to not only pursue my passion, but also be able to complete it in the very near future. Thank you ForeFlight!

Thanks for the update, Megan and Jacob! We will stay tuned for more.