FREDERICK, Md. — The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) Foundation Saturday awarded $65,000 in flight training scholarships to prospective pilots from eight states as part of its program to expand the pilot community and support flight training.
The winners represent flight students from a wide age range and from throughout the country. Though diverse, each of the students expressed a keen interest in flight and the desire to pursue instruction and serve as ambassadors for general aviation, according to AOPA officials.
The scholarships were generated by individual AOPA Foundation donors and awarded to student pilots working toward an initial sport, recreational or private pilot certificate.
The award program was launched in 2011 under AOPA’s Flight Training Student Retention Initiative, and has since expanded. AOPA this year received more than 700 scholarship applications.
This is also the second year that AOPA Foundation has sponsored an Able Flight scholarship. Able Flight’s mission is to offer people with disabilities a unique way to challenge themselves through flight and aviation career training.
This year’s Able Flight Scholarship was awarded to Ellen Howards of Boston, Mass. Ellen was born with spina bifida occulta, which caused severe scoliosis in adolescence, requiring surgery. She went on to live an active life, and today uses crutches and sometimes a wheelchair. Ellen is an adjunct professor at a Boston area college, and earned her pilot certificate after training at Able Flight’s program at Purdue University’s Department of Aviation Technology.
“What’s amazing about this group of scholarship winners is their sheer enthusiasm for general aviation,” said Brittney Miculka, senior manager of pilot community development. “We have winners who are kids in high school and a gentleman who is getting his helicopter rating at age 70. These winners prove that the passion for aviation is enduring, and we’re thrilled that we can help these exceptional people with their training through our scholarship program.”
The scholarships were presented by AOPA President Mark Baker during a Pilot Town Hall at AOPA’s Homecoming Fly-in at its headquarters in Frederick, Md. AOPA is celebrating its 75th Anniversary at the Fly-in.
The scholarship awards and winners are:
- Able Flight scholarship: Ellen Howards, (Boston, Mass);
- Noe-Singer Flight Training Scholarship: Anna Weilbacher, (Leona Valley, CA);
- The Richard R. and Gretchen E. Harper Scholarship in memory of Richard R. Harper: Kurt Clemenz (Fishers, IN);
- The Richard R. and Gretchen E. Harper Scholarship in memory of Richard R. Harper: Ian Kapit (Orange City, FL);
- Gina Santori Flt Training Scholarship: Veronica Trujillo (West Covina, CA);
- Richard Santori Memorial Scholarship: Ryan Huebler (Buckley, WA);
- Jimmie Allen Flying Club Scholarship: Sarah DeRemer (Easton, PA);
- Ceci Stratford Flight Training Scholarship: Kevin Berg (Concord, NC);
- Erral Lea Plymate Memorial Scholarship: Christine Olson (Huntington Beach, CA);
- AOPA Foundation Flight Training Scholarship: Dennis Parker (Seabrook, NH);
- AOPA Foundation Flight Training Scholarship: Lance Fisher (Los Angeles, CA).
Learn more about each scholarship recipient by clicking here.