March 28, 2024

Media Advisory: Press conference Friday on SIU Aviation partnership with Able Flight

by Pete Rosenbery

CARBONDALE, Ill. — The Southern Illinois University Carbondale School of Aviation recently entered into a partnership with Able Flight, an aviation nonprofit for people with physical disabilities to receive intensive flight training from SIU Aviation instructors starting in late May. The agreement continues the university’s longstanding commitment to providing accessibility for people with disabilities.

Reporters, photographers and news crews are invited to meet with SIU officials and Charles Stites, the executive director of Able Flight, at 8 a.m. Friday, March 29, at the Glenn Poshard Transportation Education Center at the Southern Illinois Airport to discuss the unique program that makes it possible for people with physical disabilities to become licensed pilots. 

The five student pilots who have received Able Flight Scholarships to learn to fly at SIU will train in new specially adapted Vashon Ranger Light Sport Aircraft, which are scheduled to arrive today (March 28), with formal training on the aircraft for SIU aviation faculty starting on Friday, March 29. The special controls to be used on the planes will be installed in late April before the students arrive in May. 

Among SIU officials expected to be present are Robert D. Morgan, dean, College of Health and Human Sciences; Matthew Giblin, interim director, School of Aviation, and Steven Goetz, chief flight instructor and associate professor in the SIU Aviation program. Stites founded the incorporated nonprofit Able Flight in 2006.