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Plane expo, cookout helps wounded troops
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Locals can get a close-up look at numerous single-engine planes and help support the Wounded Warriors Project from 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Wednesday, April 6, during the 2011 Georgia Light Sport Aircraft tour’s stop at the Mid-Coast Regional Airport at Wright Army Airfield located off old Sunbury Road in Flemington.
Coastal Empire Flight Training owners Denis and Samantha Boissonneault are hosting the tour’s pilots and their aircraft and will offer hamburgers and hotdogs for a donation beginning at 11 a.m. that day.
“Eleven or 12 aircraft will be here,” Samantha Boissonneault said. “Basically (the pilots) are visiting four locations in five days during the week of April 6-9. We are their first stop. We’re trying to get people to come out, look at the airplanes, have some lunch and make a donation.”
Boissonneault said folks can view such light sport aircraft as the Legend Cub, the Sting S4, the Sport Cruiser, Jabiru J230-SP, the iCub, the new REMOS GX, the Flight Design CTLS, the Sirius, the Rans (S-19) and the Sport Cub S2.
The Boissonneaults are asking for donations of food for the cookout before the event. All proceeds from the food sale will go to the Wounded Warrior Project, they said.
“(Wounded Warriors Project) is a good program,” Samantha Boissonneault said. “Denis felt it was an appropriate cause to give to. We’re right there at (the post gate).”
“If a wounded warrior wants to go home and doesn’t have the funds or if he’s in the hospital and the family doesn’t have the money to visit him (or her), this organization helps them,” Denis Boissonneault said. “My dad is a disabled veteran so it’s very close to my heart. These service members put their lives on the line and it’s my way to say thanks.”
The Wounded Warriors Project is a nonprofit organization founded in 2003 to provide programs and services to severely injured service members during the time between their active duty and their transition to civilian life, according to
The couple said they soon will sell their flight school so Denis Boissonneault can return to active duty. Coastal Empire Flight Training will remain in operation under new ownership at Mid-Coast Regional Airport. The company also offers flight training at Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport, Ridgeland Municipal Airport and Beaufort County Airport, according to the company website at
“We’ve got five aircraft — two Cherokees, a light sport, a C plane and an acrobatic. One of the Cherokees is at MidCoast,” Samantha Boissonneault said.
She said her husband served nearly 10 years in the military and will be going back into the Army.
“That’s why we’re selling the business,” she said.
Denis Boissonneault served “just under eight years” as a Marine with tours in Somalia and Kosovo, then served in the Army National Guard after 9/11. While stateside in the Guard, he began flying lessons in Charleston, S.C., he said. However, Boissonneault’s love of flying really took off when he reentered civilian life.
He earned his flight-instructor rating in July 2005, according to Denis Boissonneault said he taught flying in Orlando and Clearwater, Fla., and in Ridgeland, S.C.
“After that, I came back to Savannah and started my own flight school in August 2008,” he said. “I borrowed an airplane and borrowed hangar space in Ridgeland, S.C. And I had three students.”
Boissonneault has flown all types of aircraft, including a 1946 Ercoupe, an Extra 300 and a King Air 200, according to He also is certified as a sea-plane instructor. Boissonneault has more than 2,000 hours of flight instruction under his belt, according to his company’s website.
“I have enough experience now to enter the warrant officer flight program,” he said. “I want to finish my (military) career flying Army helicopters.”

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