Originally Posted by RGaines
What a wonderful program and opportunity for these kids. Are the kids going to be able to learn to fly in it? What is the future plan for the finished -12? You are providing an experience that is going to change the direction of some of these kids lives. Keep it up.
At this point the final outcome is a bit uncertain.
An original program goal was that at the very least each team member get an opportunity to fly in the airplane they helped build, and an extended hope that they might be able to take some primary flight training in it.
The reason for the uncertainty right now is that because of the way the sponsor nonprofit organization, (Airway Science for Kids) is structured, they can own an airplane but it can never fly while it is under their ownership because of the type of insurance they have, etc.
We still hope that another nonprofit can be established with the airplane transferred to it. The problem is that none of the people involved in this program know anything about how to do that. There is also the question of using an E-LSA airplane for flight training in an environment where the students have no ownership in the airplane...would the FAA consider that commercial use even if the use is donated to them. I have made some initial contact with someone in our local FSDO and they said they thought there was a way to structure it to make it possible but it would have to be looked at in more detail.
So to answer your question...we would like to give them an opportunity to take some training in the RV-12 (four of the twelve have already had some basic flight training varying from an intro. lesson to a few hours of dual). I think we can even get some sponsorship money to help with the cost. We just need to find a way to structure it so as to deal with the liability black cloud and satisfy the FAA.
If anyone reading this has any experience with a flying club type of organization geared specifically towards flight training for teens, I would really like to here from you. Particularly if it has operated more as a not for profit business.
Our long term dream for this program is two fold....
1. That we would succeed with the pilot project to demonstrate a way to make the program work, and use that experience to build a program documentation package that could be provided to any other EAA chapter or aviation interest group with an interest in doing something similar in ther area (kind of an outreach to support other groups in spreading the good news of sport/general aviation to young people).
2. Demonstrate the viability of the program to the point that it would enable us to acquire sponsorship for a second RV-12 kit. The construction program could then be repeated with a new group of teens while some of the team members from the first group fill some of the mentor positions in exchange for flight training in the first airplane. At the completion of the second airplane the first could be sold with the proceeds funding a kit to build a third (and probably have enough left over to help cover costs involved with giving the flight training) and then the whole process starts over again....hopefully making a self funding/perpetuating program that could go on as longs as the needed volunteers were available.
Big dreams I know, but I think it could work if it is structured properly.
Thanks for your interest, kind words, and encouragement.
It has been a big commitment of time for the past 7 months but it is very rewarding. These 12 teens have learned a lot in that amount of time, and I think any one of them could fit right in to RV-12 conversations here on VAF.