AOPA Air Safety Foundation announces winners of ExxonMobil Aviation Scholarships

October 3, 2008

AOPA Air Safety Foundation announces winners of ExxonMobil Aviation Scholarships

Raffi Hairabedian
Chad Kintz
Roger Suter
Melanie Thom

Four university students have each won a $2,000 scholarship sponsored by ExxonMobil and administered by the AOPA Air Safety Foundation.

The ExxonMobil Aviation Scholarships were established to award deserving students in A&P mechanic programs and four-year aviation degree programs.

The two winners of the A&P Scholarship were Melanie Thom of West Lafayette, Indiana, majoring in aviation technology at Purdue University and Roger Suter of Friendly, West Virginia, working toward his A&P certificate at Fairmont State College.

Aviation Scholarships were awarded to Chad Kintz of Grand Forks, North Dakota, majoring in commercial aviation at the University of North Dakota and Raffi Hairabedian of Prescott, Arizona, an aeronautical sciences major at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.

Scholarship applicants were students enrolled in an accredited aviation maintenance technician certification program or a baccalaureate level aviation degree program at a four-year institution. Applicants maintained a grade point average of 3.25 or better on a 4.0 scale.

Essays submitted for the A&P Scholarship compared and contrasted the annual inspection versus an "hours-based" inspection.

Weighing the differences of high flight hour wear and storage wear, Thom wrote, "A more logical inspection program should take into account factors such as the actual number of flight hours, the storage environment, the type of aircraft and the type of systems requiring inspections."

Suter proposed the idea of owner participation. In his essay, he suggested "The pilot owner would be required to obtain specialized inspection training for the specific aircraft and be granted an 'owner repairman certificate.'"

Essays for the Aviation Scholarship discussed an affordable system of pilot training, aircraft, and ground-based technologies to reduce VFR into IMC accidents.

Kintz suggests improvements in training and technology. He wrote, "By improving the quantity and quality of instrument flight instruction, utilizing new PCATDs, and installing simple autopilot systems, such accidents can be kept to a minimum, if not eliminated."

Hairabedian discussed the need for even more training. Keeping cost in mind as well, he suggested "Time should also be spent in a flight training device recovering from unusual attitudes, as a cheaper alternative to aircraft time."

Just established this year, the ExxonMobil Scholarship was funded using a rebate program on case sales of Exxon's new aviation piston oil product, Elite 20w/50.

"ExxonMobil Lubricants & Petroleum Specialties recognizes that this kind of support addresses future needs of aviation, especially the critical shortage of qualified aviation mechanics," said Exxon General Aviation Industry Manager Steve Sunseri. "We were very pleased to offer this program through the Air Safety Foundation."

Applications for next year's ExxonMobil Scholarships can be downloaded or send a self-addressed, stamped envelope to: ExxonMobil Scholarship, AOPA Air Safety Foundation, 421 Aviation Way, Frederick, MD 21701. Applications must be received by July 31, 2001.

The nonprofit AOPA Air Safety Foundation produces educational materials and conducts courses for continuing pilot education nationwide. The majority of ASF funding comes from individual pilots' tax-deductible donations.

The Air Safety Foundation is celebrating its fiftieth year of providing safety education and research to the general aviation community.

00-4-050

December 12, 2000