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ROCK HILL FLYERS

ABOUT

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The primary focus of the David Griffin Aviation Foundation is to provide support to the Rock Hill Flyers, LLC flying club (RHF).  In this unique flying club up to five student pilots are paired with five volunteer certified flight instructors (CFIs). The CFIs provide both flight and ground training at no charge. They also serve as mentors to assist our student pilot members with their goal of earning a Private Pilot’s License. The training aircraft are generously donated by dedicated community members. The plan is to fly weekly, whenever possible, and complete the private pilot requirements within a twelve to eighteen month period.  As student pilot members of RHF become private pilots, new student pilots will be recruited as replacements.

 

Student pilot applicants for the Rock Hill Flyers flying club are interviewed and selected based on their aviation passion, aptitude, good citizenship, and dedication to achieving their Private Pilot’s License. Additionally, applicants are expected to prove a need for financial help and lack the resources to pay the $12,000+ cost of obtaining a Private Pilot’s License through a commercial flight school.  With the David Griffin Aviation Foundation providing the funding for insurance, maintenance, and operating expenses, the out-of-pocket cost for the student pilot is only for the fuel used during flying lessons, the cost of the FAA medical exam, and their private pilot flight test. For example, a student will normally get an hour of preflight briefing ground school, an hour and a half of dual flight time and a thirty minute de-briefing for about $40. We estimate the total cost to obtain a private license in the Rock Hill Flyers flying club to be under $3000.

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Cherokee Cruiser, 160hp Lycoming engine, King Radios with Garmin 696 GPS and ADS-B.

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Cherokee 140B, 160hp Lycoming engine, Garmin 430 GPS/Comm and ADS-B.

STUDENTS

JOCELYN

Our first solo in November 2020 was Jocelyn, who soloed one of our donated Piper Cherokees on her 16th birthday.  She is planning a career as a professional pilot while she studies Business at Winthrop University.  Jocelyn’s CFI is Joe Baker, an airline Airbus Captain.

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VOLUNTEER INSTRUCTORS

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Ken Nelson

My dad was a pilot during WWII and introduced me to flying at a young age.  I soloed on my 16th birthday, and after college went to work as a flight instructor and charter pilot.  Later, I flew Learjet’s as a corporate pilot, and B727’s flying freight.  Finally, 37 years ago I began my career as an airline pilot.  Although, I have been a flight instructor for over 44 years, my favorite flying is still teaching young people to fly and introducing them to the opportunities and joy that aviation can bring.

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Gerry McBurney

I started flying at age 14, 51 years ago, and taught my first Private Pilot ground school at age 17.  Currently, I have CFII-MEI Instructor ratings and have given over 4000 hours of flight training as an instructor, with around 30,000 total flight time.  Before becoming an instructor for the David Griffin Aviation Foundation, I served as a Check Airman for several airlines.  In college I studied Meteorology and I have a MA in Adult Education and Distance Learning.

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Louis Kantor

I grew up flying with my dad. I got my private in 1995 and received my CFI, CFII and MEI a few years later in college.  My first airplane was a Zenith 601xl that I built with a friend and finished in 2009. Since then I have owned an RV-7a and currently own part of an ACA Citabria and Cessna 182.  I have been an airline pilot for over 20 years and am currently an Airbus Captain.  I enjoy teaching the young flyers in the David Griffin Aviation Foundation program.

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John Conner

I've been around GA for as long as I can remember.  My father taught me to fly in our 182 as a boy and to fly a tailwheel in our Boeing Stearman.  I've worked as an instructor, corporate pilot, regional airline pilot, and now as a pilot for a major airline.  I've owned and operated an aircraft management company and currently own and operate an aircraft brokerage company. But nothing beats a tailwheel airplane on grass field. CFI, CFII, MEI since 1999.

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Joe Baker

Joe comes from a flying family, going back into the 1920s. He got into professional flying a little late, having spent more than a decade as a college administrator and adjunct faculty. Joe found his instructional niche in the antique airplane/tailwheel world, which he enjoys every bit as much as primary instruction. Joe is currently an Airbus Captain based here in Charlotte, where he tries to keep a couple of antique airplanes flying.

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Brian Cope

Brian has enjoyed general aviation since 1994 when he earned his private pilot certificate.  He is presently an instrument rated commercial pilot, certificated flight instructor and aircraft owner.  His true passions are enjoying time with his family and passing along his experiences as a pilot, engineer and Army Officer to the next generation through involvement in the David Griffin Foundation, Cub Scouts and Scouts BSA.