FlyQuest Offers Low-Income Students Opportunity To Explore Aviation

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) - Aviation is a pastime not often available to lower-income families.  Founders of a new Huntsville organization have made it their goal to open up the world of flight to all young people, no matter their economic circumstance.

FlyQuest, in partnership with Wings of Eagles Flight School, hopes to offer free or reduced flight lessons for underprivileged Huntsville students.

Mark Spencer, co-founder of FlyQuest, says not only will FlyQuest offer an opportunity many students otherwise wouldn't have had, but it will open the door to future careers in aviation.

"There's a tremendous amount of demand for pilots, aviation maintenance people and operations people," said Spencer.  "Here's an opportunity for a lot of kids to take advantage of those careers if they're given the tools they need to be successful in it."

FlyQuest will allow students to purchase flight training.  But, for those who can not afford it, they will pay for their training through community service.

"Those hours will count toward their time in the airplanes, the simulator and ground school," said Spencer.

To curb the cost for training, FlyQuest, along with Wings of Eagles, has put a down payment on a full motion flight simulator, which will allow the students to gain flight skills before ever actually sitting in a cockpit of a real plane.

FlyQuest hopes to raise $150,000 within the next few months to fund its flight simulator.  If all goes as planned, they hope to begin offering lessons and training as early as January.

You can learn more about FlyQuest or donate to the organization on its website.


  • Michael Kewl

    Does any of this discussion make any real sense for training any student to be able to gain a pilot’s license???

    FlyQuest must be having real cash flow difficulites and is out begging for ways to raise money.

  • Ramona Banks

    Michael, I guess I don’t understand your question, sine it is possible to train young adults to pass the pilots practical test this way.

    As for the cash flow statement, FlyQuest was founded this summer. We have already raised enough for the down payment of the flight simulator. Since we are a new non-profit, this interview was a way that we could share information on FlyQuest. One of our main goals is to share the love of flying with the community.

  • Caroline Hodges

    FlyQuest is not just about flight training. We are about teaching young people about not only aviation and the associated sciences, but also to instill responsibility, community service, and confidence in the young people who participate in our program. Our founders came from humble beginnings and could have only wished for an opportunity like this when we were young. We all worked hard, went to school, and only when we became adults were able to achieve our dreams of flight. I can speak for all of us that flying has made very positive impacts to our lives and we want to give back and help.

    There are too many negative influences in a child’s life, and we want to give them hope and a chance in life. I have flown so many children at air shows and seeing the joy on their faces and inquisitiveness about flight was truly amazing. What was sad was knowing that the chance they’d be able to take that intro flight further was next to zero. We are personally giving our time and money to make this happen.

    So, before making negative comments, please understand where we are coming from and why we are doing this endeavor.

  • Michael Kewl

    Based upon these 2 responses it must be about cash flow as the non-profit is about paying the salaries of their employees or is everyone so dedicated they are working for no profit themselves as in free labor?

    Flying is a very expensive manner in which to make people ‘happy’ and give them enlightenment…a 1%’ers form of entertainment.

    • Bob Urban

      For all those out there who would like to criticize this wonderful program for giving those less fortunate than us opportunities to have experiences that too many of us more fortunate ones take for granted, we should all be giving thanks for OUR blessings, and look for opportunities to share our gifts with others. As for myself, I am an inactive CFI giving ground school lessons to CAP cadets as part of their Orientation Flight Program, and I find it extremely gratifying to see young people flying airplanes before they will be driving cars with training they have received from me. As for anyone who knows program similar to Wings of Eagles Flight School operating (or about to start up) in the KUKT or KABE areas and would appreciate my assistance, drop me an e-mail. I’ll be more than happy to help. .

  • Ramona Banks


    We have no paid employees at this time. Wing of Eagles Flight School has offered us free office space at Huntsville International. Signature Flight Center at Huntsville International has offered us free classroom space. We have received great responses from the Avaition community.

    Just like most hobbies, pilots are willing to share thier excitement of their hobby. There are numerous groups that offer free flights for different reasons. Young Eagles, which we are working with, offers free flights to young people. Young Eagles is all volunteer. Pilot and Paws Pilots offer free flight to pets to get them to families that wants them. Once again, all volunteer. Caroline and I have both offered our planes and time for this cause. Angel Flight offer flights to people that need medical treatments in a different city and thet don’t have the means to pay for the flight. All volunteer. Mark has offered his plane and time for this great cause. The aviation community is a very different community.

    If you have never went to your local small airport, Decatur, Moontown or Madison Executive are good examples, and talked to the General Aviation (GA) pilots, you might want to. You will see that most pilots will happily take someone for a flight that wants to fly. The small airports offer open houses for free. Moontown has their open house in the fall. One thing that most GA pilot fear is that this hobby will be lost.

    Most people don’t understand the opportunities that are available in the aviation field. Educating young people on the opportunities is a big part of what we will be doing.

    Please go to our website ( and read our mission and our introduction letter. It will explain how we plan on accomplishing our goal.

    Happy New Year, Michael. May 2014 be a happy one for you and your loved ones.

    • Reed Nayeem


      As a recently licensed private pilot, I applaud you and your staff for helping provide exciting opportunities for those who haven’t been afforded such a chance. Don’t let the naysayers cloud your vision. Best of luck in your endeavor and Happy New Year!

  • Tom Rains

    Michael, I don’t know who you are, what you “do” in life, but you’re missing the great gift of giving to those less fortunate. I fly some of these folks in my airplane routinely, and without a penny in return. However, over the years I have been blessed to see some wonderful results. Try it sometime. It just may change your life in a very positive way. By the way Wings of Eagles Flight School, I’m in Austria skiing with my Apache pilot son & his family, and hope to meet with you when I return home to Huntsville. I’m a retired military pilot, retired Boeing executive, and current business owner for the last 13 years. I keep my Glasair Sportsman at Madison County, and would be happy to support your program.

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