Dave Hirschman

Sport Pilot Exceeds 120 Knots

July 16, 2010 by Dave Hirschman, Senior Editor

As a brand-new Sport Pilot, U.S. Marine Sgt. Michael Blair has been limited to a top speed of 120 knots while learning to fly the AOPA’s 2010 “Fun to Fly” Remos GX Light Sport Aircraft.
But there was no such speed limit on July 4 when Blair flew as a passenger in an aerobatic L-39 Jet with airshow team Vandy1.
Blair, an Iraq combat veteran who was severely wounded in 2006, got to ride through loops, rolls, half-Cuban eights and other high-G maneuvers at speeds of more than 300 knots. Pat “Villain” Marsh was PIC, and Vandy1 is a supporter of the Wounded Warrior Project, a charity designed to benefit injured veterans.
“They were taking bets on the ground about whether I’d get sick during the flight,” said Blair, 35. “But I felt great. I could have stayed up there all day if they’d had enough jet fuel.”

Blair is shown here with wife Delissa and daughter Bella, 4.

3 Responses to “Sport Pilot Exceeds 120 Knots”

  1. Michael Says:

    Thank you Dave! Apparently I’ve been on their radar for some time now, but it’s because of your article that it happened when it did. Independence Day 2010 was awesome, and that little girl got to see tons of fireworks on the beach. Huge thanks to VAC, Walt Fricke, AOPA, Dave Hirschman, WWP, Vandy1, Pat Marsh, Steve Vankirk, Al Marsh, Rich Romaine, all the great people at AOPA who helped celebrate my solo, the Blackwater Flight Foundation, and so many others who have encouraged and inspired me to achieve!

  2. Michael Blair Says:

    I have to issue a brief correction for the above, it’s called the Blackhawk Flight Foundation Inc, a non-profit organization supporting our fallen comrades children from the current wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

  3. Orlando Sport Pilot Says:

    What a beautiful family and story. I love to see our veterans honored in such unique ways. Thank you for posting this story.

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