You might say it’s paying it forward as only FIT Aviation can do.
On Friday morning, seven of the flight school’s aircraft were flown to Naples Airport, transporting about 700 pounds of essential cargo: supplies for victims of Hurricane Ian. In the cool morning air, cleaning products, diapers, water, paper towels and more were loaded onto the planes at the Emil Buehler Center for Aviation Training and Research at Melbourne Orlando International Airport.
Purchased with funds donated by FIT Aviation and including items donated by its employees as well as the campus community, the $2,000 in supplies will be routed to those in need by a southwest Florida food bank.
Jay Arcemont, FIT Aviation’s deputy executive director, said that after the Space Coast was spared from the worst of Ian’s wrath – FIT Aviation is home to 35 aircraft that could have been seriously damaged – it was fitting to pay that good fortune forward.
“We felt good it passed us by, so we thought, how can we help those in the state of Florida?” Arcemont said.
FIT Aviation initially contacted the airport in Fort Myers about receiving the supplies, Arcemont said, but were told supplies and support were sufficient at the time. Then a request from Naples Airport arrived, and a new destination was set.
The team at FIT Aviation thought of another way to add value to the day’s three-hour journey to and from Naples.
“We thought, let’s coordinate this with a training day, so we have both students and instructors going out to do deliveries today. They are accomplishing lessons, doing some cross country flying, and at the same time, we are doing something really good for our fellow citizens,” he said.
Flight students must do flights of at least 50 miles as part of their training. For student Kessler Cluck, an aeronautical science with flight major who is working on her commercial single-engine license, this was a wonderful opportunity.
“It’s great. There’s already such a big point to flying, just with the career opportunities, and especially as a young woman, bringing that diversity into the career, but it’s also so nice to be able to do something good for the community at the same time,” she said.