Taking Kids To New Heights

My goal is to fly commercially within the next two years. In the more immediate future, I am super excited to receive more Rating so I can teach kids as well as my peers the marvels of how to fly aircrafts. Learning to fly an airplane, hell, even being able to take a trip on an airplane is something that children from inner cities don’t have much access to.

Flying is something that is usually reserved for the super wealthy and privileged and although I’ve encountered some stumbling blocks along the way, I’ve had the privilege of receiving my certificate and want to pay it forward by offering this opportunity to kids that might be interested in learning how to fly or just receiving the flight experience. Therefore, I am thoroughly looking forward to teaching aviation to the youth and giving them access to an industry where they can choose to do it either recreationally or as a profession. For this reason I pledge to volunteer my time to take underprivileged children aged 3 yrs to 16yrs on FREE discovery flights once I’ve purchase the aircraft.

For my goal, I’m asking for your assistance in raising $30,000 towards the down payment for a purchase of a Cessna Skyhawk 172. The down payment of the airplane is to jumpstart the process of acquiring the plane and to help minimize the cost of the free flights being offered. Aircraft rentals to introduce children to flying will run a lot higher over several years as opposed to owning an aircraft outright.We have a stretch goal of $150,000 which will allow us to fully acquire the aircraft with no loans, financing or interest as well as cover routine maintenance, insurance and parking fees (tie down cost).

Together we can make this a reality for the many deserving children.

We humbly ask your help in this effort to reach our goal to please share this link with your friends if possible.
The share link for this campaign is www.gofundme.com/taking-kids-to-new-heights 

So, what do you say? Probably a lot. But, if you have questions, we have answers…

What is a discovery flight?
A discovery flight or an intro flight is a flight introducing you to the aviation environment as well as flying in a small general aviation aircraft. It is designed to show you what flying an airplane is like as well as introducing you to some basic aerodynamic and aviation principles.


What is this R.E.P. U program you mentioned?
R.E.P. U, Inc. is a series of programs formed to enhance and extend student learning and experiences beyond the academic courses offered in schools. R.E.P. U, Inc. offers various fun and enriching activities conducted by skilled instructors. 


Have you given other classes through them?
Yes we have given several classes through R.E.P. U for children. Courses included, DJ’ing, culinary arts, photography, self defense and a beginners to Photoshop course. You can check out some of the pictures from previous events at this link here.


How much does a discovery flight cost and how long is it?
A basic discovery flight can range anywhere from $115 to $300, the actual flying time is usually about a half hour and the whole process takes about 1 to 2 hours.


How much will be saved by operating your own plane?
Operating your own aircraft to do a discovery flights cuts the cost substantially in the long run for future flying and teaching children. It’s similar to the difference between renting a home and owning a home. Although aviation in general is extremely expensive the cost of owning the airplane to give free flights helps save money in the long run as opposed to trying to rent a plane from someone to teach which can run you about $150 to $200 per hour just for the airplane. It makes it extremely unsustainable in the long run for giving discounted flights.


Why don’t you just get a cheaper plane?
Airplanes are expensive in general for example a simple annual inspection is roughly $1,750 which is mandatory. Getting a cheaper airplane can cause for potentially more maintenance cost down the line. We are looking to get a decent affordable aircraft which has been well maintained and operational funds.    


Do you have to pay the pilot for flying?
On typical discovery flights, yes. That number is already factored in the price for the cost of the flight. Seeing as though this program was created solely for the purpose of giving back to the children all pilot and aircraft  fees will be waived for as long as financially possible.  


You said in your story you don’t have your instructors rating but still want to do discovery flights I’m confused?
I am currently not an instructor so there are certain things that I can’t do like have your discovery flight count towards your personal flight hours at the moment. However with my private rating I can take friends, family and the like and take them flying however far our hearts desire in the world. So intro flights are the perfect fit for me to get children introduced to the world of general aviation and I don’t have to be an instructor to do so.


Will any of this money be used for your personal flight training lessons?
Absolutely not. Although training has been taxing I have cut my overhead monthly cost substantially by giving up my apartment in NYC so all my personal flight training cost and monthly payments for the plane will be my responsibility and are already budgeted for.


This all sounds dandy! What’s in it for you?
I have always heard to find something you love doing so much that you would do it for free. Well  I’ve found it, now I hope to pass the gift of flight on to others.


How can we hold you accountable?
Aviation is heavily regulated by the FAA, so once the aircraft is purchased it will be co-operate by myself and R.E.P. U, Inc. The FAA website has an aircraft registry where you can look up all purchase information on aircrafts here which I will update once purchased. You can also follow all flight schedules, updates and classes on our website www.repu.nyc .


I’m sure you’re a great pilot but is there someone else with a little more experience that will be flying if I want my child to go?
The answer is, yes.  If my 120 hours and 300 landings don’t make you feel comfortable I totally understand. I have an instructor with over 4000 hours and a couple thousand landings that can make himself available. The caveat is he doesn’t come cheap.


What areas will you be operating out of for these lessons?
The great thing is it is an airplane but the New York area has some of the most complex and congested airspace in the country, so all lessons will take place out of Linden, N.J., Long Island, N.Y. and Stroudsburg & Philadelphia, P.A. to start out.

Will you be opening a flight school after you get this plane?
We will be giving lessons and are working on establishing a Flying Club. We will be looking to stress learning and aviation. We think a flying club will be more appropriate as it will be teaching youth to fly and giving lessons but a traditional school is very dependent on making money through students. We want to teach as well as give the opportunity of aircraft part ownership.

Is my donation tax deductible?
YES but not through GoFundMe. To make tax deductible donations CLICK HERE . We are a Fiscally Sponsored Program  through Fractured Atlas which means donations made through our website can be tax deductible. We don't have a 501(c)3 tax exempt status through the IRS however we are under an organization, Fractured Atlas , which allows for us to receive tax deductible donations. 

I understand this is a hefty price tag and I’m humbly asking that even if you can’t give at this moment but find the idea cool please forward the campaign link to someone who might be a candidate to donate or invest in making this dream become a reality. Also if you know of any parents in the tri-state area that might be interested in these upcoming courses let’s get a jumpstart on signing them up as well so they can take advantage of the free discovery flights once we’ve crushed this goal! Get enrolled today:

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    • $300 
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    • $200 
    • 38 mos
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    • $90 
    • 39 mos
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    • $100 
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See all


Ray Smith
New York, NY

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