A fight with flight: 10th year of Purdue's Able Flight Program

A flight program like no other around the country is celebrating its 10 year anniversary at Purdue.

Posted: May 22, 2019 10:42 PM
Updated: May 22, 2019 11:24 PM

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) — A flight program like no other around the country is celebrating its 10 year anniversary at Purdue.

The Able Flight Program, a national nonprofit, teaches people dealing with disabilities to pilot a plane.

One student from California is back again this year after having to leave the program two weeks short due to medical complications.

Emily Hupe says its to show her kids that a major set back makes for a major come back.

"I feel like if I can do this, if I can do something like fly a plane, like I can say I am a bad ass mom," said Hupe. "You know then they are not going to worry."

There's no need to worry about mom, Hupe family.

"I feel like if I can do this then I can do anything," said Hupe.

She is back and ready to fly the world.

The world gave her seven children. However it was the birth of Emily Hupe's seventh child that paralyzed her.

"Like a lot of things I thought, well I am not going to be able to fly," said Hupe.

But then a dear friend stepped in and recommended the Able Flight Program.

It's a program that has seen the assistance of associate professor Bernie Wulle.

"Kind of opens people's eye to what we can and can't accomplish," said Wulle. "When people think that's impossible, we get her done."

The program is accomplished in six weeks as opposed to the typical 16.

Students learn the nuances of piloting a plane.

"They are very eager," said Wulle. "It gives them the opportunity to do something they don't think that they could."

It's not that Hupe could not do it. It's a matter of pride. She's proving whatever hardships you face don't let them define you.

"So if I come here and I can do it they'll see me like they used to and that's what I need to be; who I used to be," said Hupe.

At the end of the six weeks, Able Flight students receive their Able Flight wings and they'll become a licensed light sports plane pilots.

That means they can fly two-seat planes that weigh less than 13-hundred pounds.

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