Student Pilots Ready to Solo in One Week?

Redbird Flight Simulations and AOPA launched a program this week at the Sun 'n Fun airshow designed to bring student pilots with no prior flying experience from zero time to solo flight preparedness in one week. The aim of the One Week Ready to Solo program is to show how much fun it is to learn to fly and that it is not as difficult as some non-pilots may think.

The organizations selected three student pilot applicants, Sherry Rosenkranz, Nik Oekerman and Chris Graves, and three instructors from award winning flight schools around the country to participate in the program. The students will receive nine training sessions in a Redbird simulator and nine flight lessons in a Cessna 172 RedHawk, Redbird's Skyhawks that have been refurbished and converted to the fadec-equipped 135 hp Continental CD-135 (formerly called the Centurion 1.7) engine. The goal is to bring the students from knowing nothing about flying to being ready for a supervised solo flight by the end of the week.

To make the experience even more exciting for the students, the program includes flights with guest instructors, such as Sean Tucker, Patty Wagstaff and Mike Goulian. I personally had a chance to take up Sherry Rosenkranz for her third lesson in the Redhawk and was amazed at how well she flew the airplane after only a few days of training.

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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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