COLUMBUS, Ga. — Chattahoochee Valley Chapter 677 of the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA 677), based at Columbus Airport (CSG), has awarded two full scholarships to the EAA Air Academy to 14-year-old Frank Lumpkin IV of Columbus and 16-year-old Christian J. “CJ” Arnold of Salem, Alabama.
The two were chosen to receive scholarships – worth nearly $1,000 each plus air fare – from among more than 500 children between ages 8 and 17 who participated in the chapter’s Young Eagles events in 2012. They will attend the Basic Air Academy in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, this summer from June 28 through July 3.
The scholarships were presented in a special ceremony at the May meeting of EAA 677, during which every member present passed the award from one member to the next until it was presented to each student.
“Every member made this possible through their participation in and support of our Young Eagle Rallies last year,” chapter vice president Gary Brossett said at the meeting. “It’s only fitting we should all participate in presenting this to our winner.”
This is the only the second time the chapter has been able to sponsor participation in the Air Academy, so members were careful to be sure the scholarship went to students who would appreciate it and fully benefit from the experience. Frank applied for the scholarship and was approved, while CJ was nominated by chapter members who worked with him at the Thunder in the Valley Air Show.
“Frank has been a volunteer with us for years and is an active student pilot,” said Ernie Kelly, chapter president. “His passion for aviation and outgoing personality set him apart. When he asked if he could apply and then presented himself to the chapter as a candidate, we were sold.”
Frank will be a freshman at Columbus High School and is a member of Boy Scout Troop 35. Although he has only been around general aviation for about three years, Frank says the few hours of training he has have made him want to pursue it as a hobby. “I don’t want to make it a career,” he explained. “I just want to fly.”
“While Frank is very outgoing, CJ is very quiet,” Kelly said, describing the second scholarship recipient. “CJ has been part of the Thunder in the Valley Air Show through his Scout troop for three years and is well known to many of our members. When we realized we had the resources to send two students to Oshkosh this summer, the chapter members called CJ to see if he’d represent us. We’re pleased he said yes.”
CJ is a rising junior at Smith Station High School and a member of Boy Scout Troop 128. “I never really thought about flying before I worked at the airshow,” he said. “But after I got around planes and had my first ride, I realized flying is something I really like.”
The EAA Basic Air Academy is designed as a step up from the Young Eagle introductory camp. This program uses a series of “hands-on” activities to expand each camper’s knowledge of aviation.
Activities at the EAA Basic Air Academy are designed to interest and challenge youth in their mid-teens and include such activities as:
- Airplane wing construction
- Ground school
- Aviation history and flight
- Flights in both an airplane and helicopter
For more information: YoungEagles.org,In photo: Chapter President Ernie Kelly, CJ Arnold and Frank Lumpkin