Michael Goulian has been involved in flight training his entire life. When Redbird Flight Simulations invited him to take part in a revolutionary training project, he jumped at the chance.
The One Week Ready to Solo project set out to prove that flight training is attainable and success is achievable. The challenge was to take three people with zero flight experience and provide them with the instruction they would need to make their first solo flights – flying an airplane without an instructor on board – all within 7 days. The latest advances in training theory and equipment would be used including flight simulators from Redbird Flight Simulations and the RedHawk training aircraft; a rebuilt, reimagined, diesel powered Cessna 172.
Michael was invited to participate as one of a select group of celebrity instructors which included air show pilots Sean D. Tucker and Patty Wagstaff as well as world renowned flight instructors John and Martha King. Michael has been a flight instructor since the age of 18 at Executive Flyers Aviation, a flight school founded by his late father in 1964 in Bedford, MA. Michael would eventually act as the flight school’s President and chief pilot beginning in 2000.
The One Week Ready to Solo participants reported to the Plant City Airport during the week of the annual Sun ‘N Fun fly-in being held in nearby Lakeland, FL. Michael spent an afternoon with student Chris Graves, guiding him through a series of basic maneuvers including an in depth examination of aerodynamic stalling. “Chris was a great student because he has a passion for machines and flying,” Goulian said. “Providing him with some guidance was a pleasure and I am honored to be a part of this event.”
Only a few days later, Chris and his fellow students met the challenge of the One Week Ready to Solo project by completing their first solo flights. The week long adventure will be featured in an upcoming web series published by the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) as part of their ongoing mission of aviation outreach and community development.