I like EAA’s Eagles & Young Eagles programs, and they got me pondering how to also support new pilots who are accruing the required flight hours toward an aviation career: giving pilots who’ve already earned their Private or better license a free hour of Pilot In Command (PIC) time.
So to celebrate Thanksgiving when Anne and I were going flying anyway, we offered the right seat to a young woman who works the ramp and desk at Atlantic and is nearing her IFR checkride thanks to the people at Above All. If you haven’t already met her around the airport (or at the 12/11 Holiday Party), Aravni is great gal and has volunteered to help me arrange for other new pilots to hook up with others like me willing to donate an hour of PIC for their log.
Basically the way it works is, sometime when you’d like to fly you hook up with a new pilot and let them log the time. Aravni and I will help you get in contact, and the details are up to you. My preference was to fly left seat, which many of the new pilots will welcome since their careers will start off with most or all right seat anyway. They’ll still be buying aircraft and of course instructor time from their school, but this little boost will be a great help to many of them in simply chalking up PIC hours on a tight budget. They might learn some things from you, and I learned some things from Aravni.
I checked with AOPA Insurance, and though our AIG policy fully covers such donations of PIC hours to new pilots with Private or better the agent suggested other donors double check with their insurer. Apparently a few policies may have minimum PIC hour or other requirements. I’ve spoken with Atlantic manager Aaron, and he’s offering a great fuel discount in support of it. I spoke briefly with Shawn at Above All, and she was enthusiastic. I’ll be checking with her again, and with the other schools, and also plan to approach Signature unless someone who’s based there would be willing to take that on.
Because it was both fun and we learned a few things, Anne and I want to offer more such free “New Pilots” flights. But my hope is that other EAA & 99s members and SBA plane owners & pilots might join us in offering such flights. Since SBA has many new local pilots who’d qualify for and benefit from such flights, having more donors can lead to a stronger local training ground for aviators. By increasing the number of pilots who make it to advanced certificates I believe this will benefit FBOs, flight schools, and everyone involved in aviation. If SB Aero Club and local EAA & 99s chapters take a leading role in this effort, it could also help to increase our number of new and younger members.
I’ve put a call in to someone in the EAA Eagles program to see if they’d like to work with us in making it an official EAA program, and will post an update here when I know more.
I welcome any comments, suggestions or concerns you might like to share. You can post a public Comment here or use the private Contact form on this page of our website, or my personal Contact form on my own site.