Saturday, December 09, 2017

Enrollment opens for spring ground school classes at Perryville Regional Airport (KPCD)

Flight student Avery Welker was the first to complete a solo flight - the final test in obtaining a Private Pilot's Certificate - in more than 20 years at Perryville Regional Airport (KPCD), making his successful flight on September 14th.

This summer, Federal Aviation Administration-rated pilots and flight instructors Leon Basler and Raymond Monier held an Aviation Informational Seminar, largely due to interest expressed through a survey taken by community members and students. 

After the successful seminar, Basler and Monier decided to head up a Private Pilot Ground School Course for anyone interested in learning more about piloting aircraft. 

The Ground School Course is meant to serve as an introduction to flight, to provide necessary information prior to or during actual flight lessons. And Monier has announced that, just a week away from the end of his first course, he is ready to invite community members and students to join him for a fresh course beginning in January and running during the school semester. 

“We started ground school class in July,” said Monier, explaining that the decision to hold a course, free of charge, was primarily to get people interested in piloting again. 

And their efforts were not without some reward. 

Flight instructor Leon Basler congratulates Dustin Welker on his solo flight on November 24th.

This fall, flight student Avery Welker was the first to  complete a solo flight — the final test in obtaining a Private Pilot’s Certificate — in more than 20 years at the Perryville Regional Airport, making his successful flight on Sept. 14.  

Following his success, Avery’s father Kenny Welker flew solo on No. 22, and his cousin, Dustin Welker, flew solo on Nov. 24. Quite literally, the program was off to a flying start. 

The new course will follow an approved curriculum provided by Sporty’s Pilot Shop. 

“We show all these videos in class, and then we talk about them after that,” said Monier, indicating the list of videos on the course website. “We start the course out with an introduction to flight, airplane, aircraft cockpit. Then we talk about the aircraft engine and propeller, taxiing the airplane, and then take-off and landings, and of course aerodynamics is with all this, too. Flying solo, cross country flying, weather theory, airspace, federal regulations — there’s no grade. You do have to take an FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) written test before you can get your Private Pilot Certificate.”

Monier assured interested parties that the course does not require any prior knowledge or prerequisite. 

Flight instructor Leon Basler congratulates Kenny Welker on his solo flight on November 22nd.

“The Wright Brothers didn’t have any, did they?” asked Monier in response. “That’s what I always tell people.”

The course introduces students to the concepts of federal airspace and federal regulations

“Our goal is to get high school students involved in our program,” said Monier. “At this time, [there is no class credit], but they will get credit as far as their pilot’s certificates go. We have to run the program about two years before we can probably get it accredited as a high school course. I’m hoping that we’ll have enough interest in a couple of years and we can make it a high school course or a career center course. That’s our ultimate goal. They are our future in this.”

Classes this past semester were held on Thursday evenings, and Monier expressed an interest in perhaps holding a few Saturday classes to compensate for the cast amount of material that the class covers. 

“The course is free, but some materials will be required,” said Monier. 

For those interested in attending the course, a second seminar date will be announced to provide additional information. For specific questions, email Monier at 

“Thank you to the Career Center and city,” said Monier. “PACTC Director Craig Hayden was so good to work with, and so was City Administrator Brent Buerck. It’s been a very successful program so far.” 

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