“I can’t believe I can finally say I’m a pilot,” Blair said after a checkride with Bill Nelson, a veteran FAA examiner based at Chester County Airport (MQS) about 35 miles west of Philadelphia, Pa. “This is something I’ve wanted to do for a very long time.”
The checkride itself was the last of many hurdles Blair has overcome to accomplish his goal. Blair, 35, was severely wounded during his second combat tour in Iraq in 2006, and he is an out-patient at Walter Reed Army Medical Center near Washington, D.C.
The married father of a 4-year-old daughter began flight training in the AOPA’s Sweepstakes Remos GX in January but his progress was slowed by unprecedented winter snowfall, the airplane’s busy travel schedule, and his own participation in a series of athletic contests for wounded veterans.
After about 30 hours of dual and solo flight training, Blair successfully completed his checkride on a hot, humid day with the wind gusting to 20 knots.
Thanks to fellow AOPA staffers and to AOPA CFI Alton Marsh for joining me in guiding Bulldog through ground and flight training. He’s a smart, talented, irrepressible person who has sacrificed a great deal for his country. It’s been a pleasure and an honor to getting to know him, and he’s a great addition to our aviation community.