916-635-7751 info@lyonsaviation.org P.O. BOX 381, Eastlake, CO 80614

Road to Wings- Adam Wasser

Road to Wings

By Adam Wasser

My flying story is similar to many pilots who say they always wanted to fly. I have pictures of me holding toy airplanes at an age too young for me to remember. I do remember doing “cross countries” across my backyard with a little die cast Cessna 310 in my hand. At some point my Dad pointed out the obvious advantages of having the military pay for flight training and that became my goal. I worked very hard to position myself for one of the military academies. Preferably the Air Force Academy with their higher percentage of graduates becoming pilots. In January of my junior year of High School while in the application process for the academies, I crashed an ultralight causing serious injuries. The Doctors informed my parents I would require surgery to install steel rods along my vertebrate. If the surgery was successful I would have about a ten percent chance of walking again. Eighteen months of various braces and therapy followed. I am grateful to so many for my recovery and that amazing life experience. I will never forget that while recovering and dealing with the reality that any dreams I had of a military career were over, Top Gun the movie, was released. I loved the film but it was painful to watch knowing that would never be me. At seventeen years old I assumed flying was not possible for me and tried to pursue other avenues. I couldn’t stay away from airshows. The flying bug could not be healed. I learned that I could use financial aid available for college and apply it to my flying courses. Becoming a civilian pilot was still possible. It was a slow process but I enjoyed every step. There were few jobs with many airline pilots furloughed at the time. (Not unlike now!) It did not make sense to spend money on lessons with no jobs waiting in the distance. But I enjoyed every flight and stubbornly stayed the course. I had many friends give up along the way and that sometimes caused me to doubt my course. I look back now and am quite happy I continued. I meet people everyday with the flying bug inside of them who tell me they wish they would have pursued aviation. I now share the cockpit of a major airliner with examples of all the people I watched at airshows. I fly with people who have flown fighters, freighters, trainers, fire bombers, corporate jets, float planes, bush planes, in combat, in space, and everything in between. I am still that little kid at heart that loves all the planes I have been able to fly. I never realized the highlight of my chosen profession would be the kind of people I get to work with every day. That is why I am such a fan of the Lyons foundation. If you have the desire to fly keep pursuing it and don’t give up. Perhaps the Lyons foundation can help you with one of the barriers to this life. Or perhaps you would like to contribute to help someone else. In either case, welcome to the club. 

Road to Wings- Jeff Peterson

Road to Wings

By Jeff Peterson

Getting started as a flight student is similar to a good flight plan. You take the best information you have and start moving forward. Threats present themselves and your plan likely gets modified.  My road to wings was no different. 

I started my flight training during my college years. I had always wanted a degree that was separate from my flying certifications – thinking this would provide a knowledge base beyond the scope of flying in the event flying didn’t work out (medical, furlough, etc).  I also thought I was going to have to move a thousand miles away to attend one of the big flight schools in order to advance my aviation career.  I traveled to one of these flight schools for a visit.  I spent a day on campus collecting as much information as I could soak up.  I decided to sign up at this school at the end of my visit.  The long drive home from that visitation got me thinking.  How was I going to finish my bachelors degree while at this new flight school?  The thought lingered for days.  I was very unsettled.  If only there was a reasonable flight school nearby where I could complete my ratings while finishing my degree at my local university.  But would that flight school provide me the opportunities of the big flight school?

The uncomfortable feeling would not stop.  I decided to go check out a flight school about 30 miles from my home.  The visit to that school was spectacular.  While smaller than the big flight school, it was more personable and provided me the opportunity to pursue my ratings while completing my degree.  I valued my experience so much that I eventually applied to the school to work as a Certified Flight Instructor once I was qualified.  In the end, this school provided me every opportunity as the big flight school.

As you embark on this endeavor, I encourage you to chart out a plan with the best information you have.  I also encourage you to prepare for detours and deviations from that plan.  They will happen and it’s a very normal part of this process. With a solid goal in mind and flexibility in your heart, your wings are within reach too!

Road to Wings- Bill Fletcher

Road to Wings

By Bill Fletcher

I’ve always thought flying was cool. I loved airplanes. Never thought about being a pilot until I flew on my very first airplane ride. Our family got orders to Hawaii and I flew for the very first time. I’ll never forget the takeoff sensation of getting pushed back in the seat. At 6 six years old, that’s when I knew I always wanted to be a pilot. 

As time marched on I kind of left it as a childhood dream because I had neither the means nor the know how to become a pilot. 

That all changed when I was a junior in high school. I was walking to class and saw a brochure stand next to the guidance counselor’s office that had brochures about the Air Force. I’ll never forget the picture of a fighter pilot wearing his helmet and how cool it looked. I went home and told my dad that I wanted to be an Air Force Pilot. He didn’t know how to counsel me because he didn’t know how to go through the process. So he kindly told me to not pin all my hopes of being a pilot in the Air Force because it was just too competitive. Of course being a rebellious teenager, I set out to prove my dad wrong. My desire was stronger than ever. But I still didn’t have the know how. Logically my next move was to call a recruiter. His priorities were to fill other positions. Not pilots. So after he chuckled on the phone, he abruptly told me to go to college. Get a degree. Then call me. And he literally hung up on me. Again, another huge motivator to prove I can do this. 

Fast forward to my senior year, my dad offered a choice for a graduation gift. Either pay off my car. Or pay for a private pilot license. Obvious choice for me. 

I immediately took lessons and was eager to learn. After a while, I was now a private pilot!

Still wanting to carry it further, I enrolled in Air Force ROTC at the University of Tennessee. Everyone in ROTC wanted to be a pilot. So I worked extra hard. Did the best I could. Went above and beyond. And as it turned out, having a private license was an edge I had on the competition. And lo and behold, I received a training slot to attend Air Force pilot training! My dreams came true!

I am a classic case of “if I can do it, anyone can”!! 

My advice is to work hard. Go above and beyond. Do something to stand out. And your dreams can come true. 

Oh. And I proved my dad wrong! I made it. 

Road to Wings- Mark Lyons

Road to Wings

By Mark Lyons

As a child, I grew up in and around the Air Force. My Father was in the Air Force. I was exposed to Air Force bases and planes at an early age. I was also exposed to travel as my dad’s assignments took me to foreign countries, sometimes for years. My middle and high school days were in one place, California.  After my dad retired from the Air force, we didn’t move again.

During High School, I watched my brother pursue aviation, really not knowing what he was doing, other than that he would disappear to go fly. I think he obtained his private pilot’s license slightly after his 17th birthday. He was also very driven to pursue a career in aviation, seeking a nomination and then receiving an appointment to the Air Force Academy.

Indirectly his passion for flight influenced me. Although I did not seek out flying lessons in high school, I followed in his footsteps, which was also following in my father’s footsteps, and I sought a nomination and then received an appointment to the Air Force Academy.

I certainly enjoyed being around aviation while at the Air Force Academy, traveling, studying and learning about aviation.  I was medically qualified to fly, hence I was given a slot to pilot training.  That started the last leg of my Road to Wings.

My road to wings certainly wasn’t easy, I can honestly say I had some challenges to overcome with some parts of the training.  In the end I was successful, and it opened up a world of possibilities for me, and sent me on a career path unlike any other. I think over time I have become more passionate about flying.  It certainly didn’t start at a young age, like my brother.  I knew I enjoyed being around aviation, but when young it wasn’t a passion.  As I have gained more and more experience,  the passion grew and I knew there was nothing else in the world I wanted or ever would want to do. I feel blessed because of the opportunity I had.  Hard work in high school certainly contributed to me receiving an appointment to the Academy, and sent me on the path to becoming a pilot. Although at that time I did not know that. I think because of the challenges obtaining my military pilot rating, I’m very empathetic to what it takes. Some roads aren’t easy and achieving those goals make the achievement so much sweeter.

Every pair of wings has a story, and it’s a story that is near and dear to everyone’s heart. The experiences I’ve had as a pilot, from teaching somebody how to fly, to watching them succeed and then flourish and then later help mentor them has been rewarding beyond expectations.

I’m passionate about this foundation, I’m highly motivated to give back and to help a young person as they reach for their goals.  Hopefully the foundation will be able to set the scholarship recipient on a path that will make a difference to them.  And in their life.


//Mark Lyons//

President/Executive Director

The Lyons Aviation Foundation

Reaching Your Goals

Whatever your goals may be, reaching them can hardly ever be done alone.  Reaching your goals require:




Clear Focus


A life style of dependence


We know what the goal of becoming a pilot entails.  We’ve been there.  And we didn’t acheive our goals alone.   Here at The Lyons Aviation Foundation, we stand ready to help.  This foundation is born out of our sense to give back.  It’s created through the loving and caring nature instilled in our family by our parents.  It’s created to help give opportunity to those that might not otherwise have the means to pursue aviation as a career path.  And to help you reach your goal.

Our New Logo


We are proud to announce and introduce our logo for the foundation.

Together we can make a difference in someones life.  We hope you will support our efforts to provide opportunity to a person passionate about flying by donating.  Together we can make a difference.



Opportunity is defined as an occasion or situation that makes it possible to do something that you want to do or have to do or the possibility of doing something.

“Opportunity is not divided equally, even if luck and talent and hard work might be.”