“Freedom” and “integrity” are the two words that Ben Van Handel uses to describe what flight means to him.
Van Handel is the first recipient of the Phillips 66 Aviation Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) Flight Training Award. The award provides $13,200 to help make an individual’s dreams of flight a reality.
Van Handel is pursuing a degree in business administration with an emphasis in marketing and economics from St. Norbert College. He’s made the National Honor Society Academic Dean’s Honors List the last two semesters.His extracurricular activities include interning for the EAA Young Eagles, as well as flying through the program as a participant. He’s also active in school-sponsored sporting clubs and volunteers his time giving back to the local community, including participating in canned food drives benefiting the Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin.
More than 200 “highly-qualified candidates” were reviewed for the inaugural award, according to Sarah Bolding, Senior Director, Brands, Phillips 66 Company.
Van Handel is interested in pursuing aviation both as a hobby and as a career, with aspirations to one day sell general aviation aircraft.
“Sharing the passion and excitement of aviation with others would bring me great joy,” said Van Handel. “I would love to be able to give back through my pilot certificate to give others the experiences I have been so grateful to experience as an EAA Young Eagle. Being able to share flight experiences and knowledge from this Flight Training Award will certainly make me a better pilot and mentor as well as help grow the aviation community.”
Part of Phillips 66 Aviation’s commitment to the Young Eagles program is to offer Young Eagle pilots a $1 rebate on every gallon of fuel they use for Young Eagle flights.