Pilots to form flying club

Published 8:42 pm Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Young people would exposed to aviation, aeronautics

Several area pilots are attempting to form a flying club based at Washington-Warren Airport.

Among those pilots are Gil Alligood and Roy Whichard, both members of the Washington-Warren Airport Advisory Board. Alligood, an Air Force veteran, is chairman of the board. Several meetings to expose pilots and others to the possibility of forming the flying club have been held.

“There have been a number of people who have inquired about flying lessons here, and there’s no aircraft rental nor air-flight instruction here now. … But the interest is to get more interest in flying, to get people enrolled in a flight-training program to get their private (pilot) licenses and to get more activity at the airport,” Alligood said about the purpose behind the flying club.

“The flying club would probably buy an airplane, and the members would pay for it through their flying” and other revenue sources, he said.

The flying club would support programs such as Wright Flight, which rewards fifth-grade students who perform well in school and meet certain criteria. Some of the pilots interested in forming the flying club already participate with the local Wright Flight program, Alligood noted.

“Yeah, we would support Wright Flight, the PAL (Police Activities League) program and any thing else that comes along that promotes reasonable aeronautical activities at the airport that will help the community in an economic way,” he said.

The flying club could help expose young people to careers in aviation or aeronautics.

“They could become a member of the flying club. They could attend meetings monthly or whenever we do it. There would be aeronautical and flying activities presented — hopefully, a ground school,” Alligood said. “You know, when someone gets their private license, they have to do ground school, pass a written test then do so many hours of flying time and pass a flight test given by an FAA (certified) flight instructor. We could be doing those things to assist young people in doing that.”

Whichard believes the flying club could help steer young people who show an interest in flying and aviation-related items to resource to help them pursue that interest.

“I’ve got a grandson who takes flying lessons, and he’s going to graduate this year. I don’t know if he’s going to get his license or not,” said Whichard. “If we can get the youth involved, get them into flying, Elizabeth City State (University) has a section that teaches aeronautics. They can go up there and learn to work on airplanes or get a career in aviation.”

Alligood believes the flying club can help open doors for young people.

“With the flying club, if we can get young people to come to the meetings and just listen to us and look at aviation movies and say, ‘I want to do that. I want to be an airline pilot.’ That’s where it can start,” he said.

Anyone interested in the flying club should contact Gil Alligood at 252-833-0837.







About Mike Voss

Mike Voss is the contributing editor at the Washington Daily News. He has a daughter and four grandchildren. Except for nearly six years he worked at the Free Lance-Star in Fredericksburg, Va., in the early to mid-1990s, he has been at the Daily News since April 1986.
Journalism awards:
• Pulitzer Prize for Meritorious Public Service, 1990.
• Society of Professional Journalists: Sigma Delta Chi Award, Bronze Medallion.
• Associated Press Managing Editors’ Public Service Award.
• Investigative Reporters & Editors’ Award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Public Service Award, 1989.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Investigative Reporting, 1990.
All those were for the articles he and Betty Gray wrote about the city’s contaminated water system in 1989-1990.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Investigative Reporting, 1991.
• North Carolina Press Association, Third Place, General News Reporting, 2005.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Lighter Columns, 2006.
Recently learned he will receive another award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Lighter Columns, 2010.
4. Lectured at or served on seminar panels at journalism schools at UNC-Chapel Hill, University of Maryland, Columbia University, Mary Washington University and Francis Marion University.

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