Every year, the agents and pilots of Aviation Insurance Resources (AIR) give back to the aviation community they serve through scholarships.
Determining who gets those scholarships is a daunting task, according to officials with the aviation insurance agency based in Frederick, Maryland.
“Many deserving applicants from a variety of backgrounds have applied, and it proves difficult to pick just one — so difficult, in fact, that for the past two years AIR scholarship judges ended up awarding two scholarships,” company officials said in a prepared release. “This year proved no different!”
The first scholarships went to Amy Hills, who did not always have the flying bug.
“But that all changed on her 31st birthday when she was gifted a discovery flight. The rest is history and she is charging ahead towards her goal to become a Certified Flight Instructor (CFI).”
Amy will use her scholarship to help complete her instrument rating.
“Amy demonstrates a drive to be a role model for her young daughters, as well as to inspire a future generation of young pilots by regularly participating as an EAA Young Eagles pilot,” AIR officials noted. “She also works tirelessly to get more families exposed to their local airport through educational events. It was her drive to share her passion for aviation with others that brought Amy to the top of AIR’s finalist list.”
Also at the top of that list was Russel Stafford, 18, whose family was his inspiration to become a pilot.
“He regularly spent time flying with his grandmother in her Beech Bonanza, and his great grandfather was a retired TWA captain. As one of six children, this scholarship will ease his family’s burden and help Russel one day achieve his goal of becoming an aerial firefighter with the U.S. Forest Service.”
Russel has completed ground school and his knowledge test. He’s learning to fly a Cessna 140 out of a grass strip while also visiting airshows and attending EAA meetings.
“Russel stated in his essay that general aviation has shaped his life for the better, a quality everyone at AIR could relate to,” company officials concluded.