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Earning His Wings

Flight School Student Earns His Wings In Half The Time

By Kelly Mitchell
News Chief Staff
New PPL Kevin Spangler

WINTER HAVEN - Kevin Spangler, 25, aced a pilot's check test with almost half the preparation of other students in the nation.

After three years of working in the media, Spangler decided to follow his passion and fly.

His father is a pilot and Spangler grew up around airplanes, he said.

"I feel more comfortable in an airplane than in a car," Spangler said.

Spangler took the check ride, which is a practical test to measure the skills developed throughout training, after only 40 hours of flight time, the minimum number of hours of flight time required before a check ride is allowed.

"Nobody ever does it," said Jonathan Amundsen - a flight instructor with Tailwheels Etc. which is located at the Winter Haven Municipal Airport.

The national average of flight time, before a check ride, is 80 hours. Students at the school, average between 50 and 55 hours because the school specializes in an accelerated flight course.

"Spangler began his lessons in Little Rock, Ark., but moved to Winter Haven to finish his flight training", Amundsen said.

"He came to us and we started him Wednesday the 4th (of June). We started him and (he rode solo) the same day," Amundsen continued.

"Spangler began his flight training on June 4, and took his check ride on June 24. He even took a week off to go out of town."

"He was very, very dedicated," Amundsen said. "Spangler flew an average of four hours a day. Many students will fly an average of an hour a week. Spangler's total training was 12 or 13 days."

"Kevin just blew that out of the water."

Amundsen said that he could show Spangler something once, and the student he could then repeat it perfectly.

Spangler will now be able to pilot his and his father's Cessna 150, a single engine small trainer plane.

"In the future", Spangler said, "I hope to become a corporate or airline pilot.

"I'm going to go through and get them all," Spangler said about his flight certifications.

Liz Amundsen, Spangler's flight instructor, said that he was an "awesome pilot" with a great attitude. "He was not arrogant about his talent," she said.

kelly.mitchell@newschief.com

This story appeared in print on page A1

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