Winner of Flying Club scholarship named

After four months of receiving and evaluating 126 applications for the first ever Flying Club scholarship, Ground Effect Advisors (GEA) has chosen a winner. Zachary (Zach) Piech, of Wilmington, N.C., and his prospective flying club, Cape Fear Flyers, will receive more than $3,500 worth of products, services, and support from the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA), David Clark, Sporty’s Pilot Shop, Signature Flight Support, Cirrus Aircraft, Schedule Master, PilotEdge and, all of which is geared towards getting a flying club off the ground.

“This has been an inspirational process, throughout,” said Al Waterloo, a GEA partner. “We received so many incredible applications, and Zach’s really jumped off of the page at us. Upon performing further due diligence on our previously announced finalists, we found him to embody everything we were seeking: Passion; vision; drive; and of course, potential for sustained success. Zach has been working towards this day for over a year with little progress. As with most prospective flying clubs, navigating the complex landscape is difficult, with many bumps along the way. We are ecstatic to have the opportunity to work with Zach and the prospect of making a lasting impact on the general aviation community in the Wilmington area.”

In a surprise move, GEA also awarded a runner-up scholarship to Chip Gentry, Jay Hahn, and Jeffrey Naught, who collectively submitted an application for a prospective flying club in Jefferson City, Missouri. The team from Jefferson City will receive $1,000 from AOPA and additional support from GEA to augment their efforts to establish a flying club.

“The quality and potential value to general aviation we saw in a Jefferson City Flying Club forced us to pivot from our original objective of awarding a single scholarship,” stated Todd McClamroch, a GEA partner. “With incredible support from AOPA, we are quite excited to extend this program to another applicant with qualities too good to pass up.”

Beyond working with the applicants from Wilmington and Jefferson City, GEA and AOPA will be developing various tools intended to assist the remaining pool of scholarship applicants in launching a flying club. Additional details to follow.

The Ground Effect Advisors and the scholarship winner will be guests on Simple Flight Radio on Sunday, June 2, at 8pm CT. The live online radio show can be streamed here.

Ground Effect Advisors is a newly established organization focused on making an impact in the growth of general aviation by exploiting the vast potential of flying clubs. The executive team at GEA consists of avid pilots with diverse backgrounds in aviation, including a corporate pilot and CFI, a flying club founder and president, and general aviation bloggers.

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