An Eye-Opener For Student Pilot

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For most student pilots, the introduction to aviation is often a highly personal, humbling and even slightly intimidating (if exhilarating) experience. Well, Rick Roberson quite literally didn't know what he was getting himself into when he signed up for a $49 introductory lesson through the Be A Pilot program at a school in upstate New York. Not long after the first flight (which hooked him, incidentally) he got a call from Be A Pilot CEO Drew Sketekee telling him he was the 250,000th "pilot prospect" to take the introductory flight and his prize was an all-expenses-paid trip to Oshkosh. "'What's Oshkosh?' he said," Sketekee told a news conference at AirVenture on Tuesday. Sketekee said it was the perfect response from the winner who typifies many of the new pilots that Be A Pilot hopes to attract. He and his wife have raised their children and are looking for new challenges. In his case, the children are moving to other cities and he figures learning how to fly will allow he and his wife to visit them more often and more conveniently. As part of the news conference, Roberson shared the stage and had his picture taken with air show great Patty Wagstaff, who was there to promote a new online donations option for those who want to support the program. And no, he didn't know who she was, either. Roberson has only three lessons under his belt but he told AVweb he loves flying and plans to get his private certificate.