Sporty’s Next Step helps grow pilot population

Hal Shevers, founder of Sporty’s, has no doubt what his mission in life is.

“When I was 25 years old, I thought I was put on this Earth to make every woman happy and burn as much avgas as possible,” he joked Thursday at Sun ‘n Fun. “50 years later, I know my purpose is to get everybody to take their first flying lesson.”

He reported that the Next Step program, which made its debut at last year’s Sun ‘n Fun, is an important part of that mission. With the Next Step program, Sporty’s offers free online private pilot courses to all Young Eagles in an effort to grow the pilot population.

“If there is no freshman class, there can be no graduates,” he said. “I’m extremely happy with what has happened in the last year.”

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