By Ted Luebbers
Mateo Colmenero, a member of the Aviation Youth Program sponsored by EAA Chapter 534 in Leesburg, Florida, earned his private pilot certificate Jan. 12, 2020.
Mateo, who has been a member of the youth program for several years, was the chapter’s first recipient of a $10,000 EAA National Ray Scholarship.
According to chapter officials, he was recommended for the scholarships because of “his continued interest in learning how to fly, learning how to build and repair aircraft working with the adult members, taking part in the Young Eagles program, and helping to pass on some of the skills he learned to some of the younger members of the chapter’s Aviation Youth program.”
After completing his training at Sun Aviation flight school at Leesburg International Airport (KLEE), Mateo flew to Dunnellon, Florida, Jan. 12 to take his FAA check ride with a Designated Pilot Examiner.
Mateo aced this final step towards becoming a private pilot, according to chapter officials.
“Upon successful completion of his FAA check ride, Mateo was presented with his private pilot certificate by his DPE. At that point he was all smiles and very happy.”
Mateo’s dream is to become a commercial pilot.
FAA examiner Troy Townsend was very complimentary about Mateo’s readiness for the check ride and also complemented his Certified Flight Instructor, Michael Abernathy of Sun Aviation, for a good teaching job. Troy further complimented EAA Chapter 534 for Mateo’s support and encouraged them to continue to advocate for general aviation in this way.
The national Ray Scholarship Fund flight education program is awarded through local EAA chapters. Mateo was the first Aviation Youth member of EAA Chapter 534 to receive this $10,000 scholarship. Chapter officials say it is their hope that this award will become an annual event.
“The chapter wishes Mateo continued success as he continues to move ahead towards his goal to one day be an airline pilot,” chapter officials concluded.