Web-Based System, Lindbergh Tapped
Central to Project Pilot is a Web site designed for students and mentors to keep in contact. Students can use the site to track their progress and celebrate training milestones and also as a resource for the innumerable questions that always arise during training. Mentors nominate prospective students and, in turn, AOPA contacts them via e-mail and invites them to join the program. Various incentives, including sweepstakes entries, a newly developed magazine for student pilots and training aids, are designed to attract and hold on to the students. Honorary chairman is Erik Lindbergh, whom you might think was born to be a pilot. In fact, it took a spontaneous form of the Project Pilot ethos to get him in the air. As a young man, Lindbergh was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, which curtailed many of the athletic activities that absorbed him. At the urging of a friend, Lindbergh began taking lessons at age 24 and soon after became an instructor. "I never would have become a pilot if it hadn't been for my friend pushing me," he told attendees at a Project Pilot workshop in Frederick. When the disease destroyed his knees, he took a seven-year hiatus from flying and, after knee replacement surgery, it was a former student that encouraged him to get current again. Lindbergh told the forum it was amazing "to help someone get started in flying and then to have it come full circle."