USACE employee with physical disability earns flight scholarship
April 25, 2013
By Randy Cephus
FORT WORTH, Texas - A Fort Worth District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers employee is one step closer to his dream of obtaining a pilots' certificate after receiving a scholarship to attend flight training at Purdue University on May 19.
Geographic information systems engineer, Dennis Akins will begin a five to six week flight and ground training course leading to a pilot certificate after the April 5 scholarship award from Able Flight.
"To earn my pilot's wings is no easy task, but I am really looking forward to this opportunity, as it has been a lifelong dream to be able to fly" said Akins.
The Killeen, Texas, native who earned his bachelor's and master's degree' from Texas A&M University, does not let his physical limitations stand in the way of meeting challenging and demanding goals.
"I'll be faced with doing something with only two hands that an able bodied person can do with both hands and legs," Akins said.
Although this presents a challenge, Akins will not give up on a dream just because it's going to be more difficult to accomplish. "This will certainly take more work and practice to become proficient, but I'm looking forward to it," added Akins.
Aside from his duties with the Corps, Akins is a member of the Mineral Wells Composite Squadron of the Civil Air Patrol where he now serves as Unit Commander and Aerospace Education Officer and Communications Officer. He has been with the Civil Air Patrol for the past 10 years.
The former Aggie has many hours of flight under his belt, but to this point, all his flights were with a certified instructor. With the award of his pilot's certificate, Akins will be able to fly solo.
"This will lead to a sports license and hopefully from there I can obtain a private license," added Akins. "I would like to eventually be able to give flight tours to others and further share my passion for aviation."