Dave Hirschman

Wounded Warrior Becomes Sport Pilot

June 15, 2010 by Dave Hirschman, Senior Editor

U.S. Marine Sgt. Michael “Bulldog” Blair successfully passed an FAA checkride Monday in the AOPA’s 2010 Sweepstakes Fun to Fly Remos GX and is now a Sport Pilot.

“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.

2 Responses to “Wounded Warrior Becomes Sport Pilot”

  1. Mark Witcher Says:

    Well done Marine! Thank you so much for your service & sacrifice to our great country! As a former Marine and father of two young Jarheads….I’m not surprised to see you overcome your hardships to reach your goal….thats how Marines roll! If your ever near Tehachapi Ca. ….I would be honored to offer you the use of my Cessna 182…she flys real nice! Take care Brother …and best of luck to you in your future endeavors! Semper Fi!
    Mark Witcher
    Tehachapi Ca.

  2. Michael Blair Says:

    Thanks a lot brother! Hopefully I’ll win the Remos in this year’s sweepstakes. Although I would probably have to turn around and sell it so I could buy the new Terrafugia Transition. It’s truly amazing that it has taken this long for someone to bring the flying car concept back into the lime light.

    Semper Fi,

    Michael Blair
    FDK’s Bulldog

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