Tempest Supports Able Flight Scholarships

Tempest, a company specializing in pneumatic, filtration and ignition products for aircraft, has made a three-year commitment to Able Flight, providing scholarships to student pilots with special needs. The relationship was spurred when Tempest's president John Herman attended a dinner benefiting the organization. "I cannot remember an evening that has meant more to me than that night," Herman said in a press conference at Sun ‘n Fun.

In its nine-year history, Able Flight has awarded 60 scholarships to people with special needs, many of whom are wounded military veterans with missing limbs. Most of the scholarship recipients have achieved sport pilot certificates, but there are also many private pilot certificates, some instrument ratings and even an ATP certificate that have resulted from Able Flight scholarships.

One of the most extraordinary stories is that of Jessica Cox. "It's a story that has been widely told but never gets old," said Charles Stites, Able Flight's executive director. Cox is a young woman who was born without arms but successfully achieved her sport pilot certificate partially thanks to a scholarship awarded by Able Flight.

Stites said each scholarship averages about $8,000 and pays for all the expenses associated with getting the certificate, including flight and ground training, travel and lodging expenses, books and test fees. Cox said the ability to become a pilot was "life changing" and the experience made her feel "empowered and independent."

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Pia Bergqvist joined FLYING in December 2010. A passionate aviator, Pia started flying in 1999 and quickly obtained her single- and multi-engine commercial, instrument and instructor ratings. After a decade of working in general aviation, Pia has accumulated almost 3,000 hours of flight time in nearly 40 different types of aircraft.

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