Marines In Afghanistan Earning Their Wings

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You might not think that Marines in Afghanistan would have much free time, but even under stressful conditions of deployment, 15 Marines are taking advantage of a chance to complete a free private pilot ground school and work toward passing their FAA knowledge test. Capt. Gabriel Glinsky, who is a CFI and the pilot of a V-22 Osprey, volunteered to teach the ground school when about a dozen members of his squadron expressed an interest in learning to fly. Glinsky asked AOPA to help out, and staffers there collected a variety of plotters, flight computers, VFR sectionals, and other training aids to ship abroad. The AOPA Air Safety Foundation, Rod Machado, and Gleim Publications all pitched in to provide books and reference materials. The tried-and-true printed materials were preferred for use in the field, where Internet connections and computer access can't be taken for granted. "The amount of support that we have received is way more than anything that we could have hoped for," Capt. Glinsky said. "We will do our best to keep GA strong, even halfway around the world."

AOPA President Craig Fuller wrote to Glinsky and thanked him for his service to the United States, his fellow Marines, and general aviation. "The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association is very pleased to support your efforts to train future aviators and extremely impressed at your commitment to do so far from home, and in such austere conditions," Fuller wrote. The students hope to complete their coursework so they can be ready to start flying when they return to the U.S. and earn their civilian sport pilot and private pilot certificates.