To understand where Paul Kramer’s Learn to Fly Centers is today, we must press rewind and revisit the man for which it is named, aviator Paul Kramer.
Paul began his romance with flight as a young boy. He realized that dream in 1957 when he received a birthday present from his wife, Fonda, and learned to fly. Although enlisted in the U.S. Air Force at the time, Paul was limited to non-pilot positions because of his eyesight. Knowing his passion for flight, Fonda enrolled him in an Air Force flying club to complement his aviation career and experience on the ground.
While serving in the U.S. Air Force, Paul was a forward air controller. During which, he was credited with saving the life of a fighter pilot. By carefully listening to the pilot over the radio, Paul recognized the signs of hypoxia. Paul was able to talk the pilot down to a safe altitude where he recovered his senses and landed without incident.
While in the Air Force Reserves, Paul served as a maintenance officer. This is where Paul developed his unrelenting standards for aircraft maintenance. Under his command, his Airmen were credited with saving the lives of three pilots who, while sitting on the ramp in their idling jets, were unaware of an inadvertent fuel tank rupture. Suddenly, a thousand of pounds of highly volatile aviation fuel spilled onto the ramp beneath the jets, exposed to hot exhaust. Paul’s crew quickly sprung into action signaling the pilots to immediately shut down and evacuate; thus saving the lives of the pilots and all the Airmen on the ramp.
During his time in the Air Force, Paul learned the discipline and practices of precision military aviation. He retired from active duty as a Lieutenant Colonel.
After the Air Force, Paul started a career in aircraft sales with Cessna and Aero Commander. Around the same time, Paul also began a successful career in Real Estate Sales in Florida, which allowed him to expand his love of flight by owning and flying his own aircraft, including several Beechcraft Bonanzas, Cessna’s, Piper Aircraft, and experimental aircraft.
Wanting to share his love of flight with others, Paul started teaching flight to aspiring aviators in South Florida.
In 2009, Paul met Jerry Roberti, a student and the two men opened the Learn to Fly Center in Hanger 1401 in Pompano Beach. With the Learn to Fly Center, Paul could teach flying the “Paul Kramer” way:
Exceptional Maintenance | Strict Adherence to Safety | and FUN
Building a flight school in Southeast Florida was easy for Paul, in spite of tremendous competition from high volume corporate schools and the worst economy in decades. With passion, Paul sat down with each student and shared “war” stories relevant to the student’s personal challenges of the day. These real life flight experiences were priceless and critical to the success and safety of his student pilots. With continued business success and a growing number of students, Learn to Fly moved to its current location in 2011.
With no regrets, Paul passed away just after his 80th birthday. Only a month before, he flew his experimental aircraft with the same zest of that young dreamer in the Air Force, doing barrel rolls and hammerhead stalls over the Florida Everglades, The Big Cypress, and the Atlantic Ocean.
Before passing away, Paul sold his interest in the school to Learn to Fly Centers, owned by Fred Perry and Christina Henley. With a commitment to carry on Paul’s teaching legacy, Fred and Christina continue to lead Learn to Fly Centers in accomplishing all of Paul’s business goals while supporting not only the aviation community, but also many service organizations in South Florida.
In honor of Paul’s devotion to aviation, Christina, Fred, and Jerry added the Paul Kramer name to the flight school. All instructors and students of Paul Kramer’s Learn to Fly Centers will know the legacy of Paul, both as an aviator and instructor. These high standards and personalized instruction were so important to the beginnings of the school with Jerry and are paramount for Christina, Fred, and the entire team.