Sunday, August 14, 2011

Pioneer Mt. Pleasant flight instructor Don Peltier celebrates 91st birthday at EAA Fly-in Breakfast August 14, 2011

The annual Experimental Aircraft Association Chapter 907 Fly-in, Drive-in Breakfast at the Woodruff Lake Airport Sunday August 14th had an added attraction this year. Legendary local pilot and flight instructor Don Peltier and his family celebrated Don's 91st birthday with the Breakfast attendee with a specially decorated cake to top off the meal of pancakes, ham, cheese potatoes, fruit cups, juice and coffee.     
     When the Central Michigan College’s Civilian Pilot Training Program began in 1939. 19 year-old Escanaba, Michigan, native Don Peltier, a pioneer pilot who had  received flight training through a United States Government program, came to Mt. Pleasant to train the students. Training took place  at the Mount Pleasant airport,  one of the few in Michigan adequate for the training.
    Peltier, recipient of the Department of Transportation Federal Aviation Administration Wright Brothers Master Pilot, recalls the students went to classes in the morning, below, and flight training in the afternoon. The first student in the program to solo, January 10, 1940, was Mount Pleasant's Lucille Davidson.
       Later, Navy V cadets were housed at Central from 1942 until 1944 while receiving basic military and Peltier-instructed flying techniques training. The V plan of enlistment was open to physically qualified 17 to 20 year old students, requiring those students to take courses directed by the Navy.

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