EAA’s Light Sport Aircraft Camp Debuts Soon

The EAA Air Academy lodge near Pioneer Field at Wittman Regional Airport. EAA

In the dead of winter earlier this year, EAA chairman and CEO Jack Pelton realized the association’s Young Eagles program would surpass the 2 million-kids-carried mark during this year’s AirVenture. Young Eagles calls upon volunteer pilots and their aircraft to deliver that first life-altering aviation experience to kids under the age of 18. While many wondered how to celebrate the milestone, Pelton pondered how the EAA could do more to “inspire that next generation of pilots and get them into the air” once they showed a continued interest.

The answer was EAA's first Light Sport Pilot Academy class at Wittman Regional Airport, scheduled for August 27, just a few weeks after the last tent has been struck at Camp Scholler. The total-immersion flight academy will train people 18 or older to pass a light-sport pilot check ride. But more important than earning that pilot certificate is students who begin classes in late August should leave Wittman Regional with a brand-new sport pilot certificate just three weeks later.

EAA Vice President of Advocacy and Safety Sean Elliott told Flying the association's board of directors was very supportive of Pelton's idea from the first and agreed it was time to bring the Light Sport Pilot Academy to life. In addition to the age requirement, applicants for the few remaining academy slots must also have successfully completed the FAA knowledge exam, a task made easier by the EAA's link with Sporty's and their online training course for the written test.

All flight training — two flights each day — takes place in one of EAA’s Cessna 162 Skycatchers under the watchful guidance of a number of volunteer flight instructors. Students will live in the EAA lodge on campus near Pioneer Field for the entire three-week session, and the instructors will live next door, meaning everyone can live and breathe flying from morning till night. In addition to the basics required to earn the light-sport pilot certificate, including solo cross-country, EAA instructors will be delivering some attitude instrument flight training to all students.

Although the original deadline for academy applications was July 1, Pelton told Flying interested applicants can still call Kevin Loopnow at 262-490-2340 for more information — today. Cost for the three-week session, including lodging is $9,999.

Rob MarkAuthor
Rob Mark is an award-winning journalist, business jet pilot, flight instructor, and blogger.

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