April 11, 2013
By Julie Summers Walker
AOPA President Craig Fuller and Lightspeed Aviation President Allan Schrader announce the finalists for the Lightspeed Aviation Foundation Pilot’s Choice Awards.
To applause and laughter, the Lightspeed Aviation Foundation announced the finalists for its annual Pilot’s Choice Awards grants program on April 11 at the Sun ’n Fun International Fly-In & Expo. The applause came from the many members of the charitable aviation organizations that attended the announcement—10 of the 15 finalists will have the opportunity to win between $2,000 and $10,000 in grant money. The laughter was brought on by the camaraderie of the organizations, all of whom share the passion for aviation.
“We want to lift you up and give you a chance to tell your story,” said Allan Schrader, president of Lightspeed Aviation. “I’m very pleased that over the past three years we have been able to award more than $300,000 in grants.”
Votes are cast online for the deserving organizations. Online voting is open through October and award recipients will be announced in November.
The 15 finalists are Air Race Classic, Angel Flight East, Angel Flight Southeast, Angel Flight West, Civil Air Patrol, International Aerobatic Club, JAARS Inc., Missionary Aviation Fellowship, Missionary Flights and Services, New Tribes Mission, The Ninety-Nines, Pilots N Paws, Recreational Aviation Foundation (RAF), Whirly Girls Scholarship Fund, and Youth Aviation Adventure.
“Do you know how long it would take us to raise this kind of money?” said Recreational Aviation Foundation Florida Liaison Tim Clifford. “Grants like these allow us to take a big sigh of relief and just say ‘thank you’ and get to the work we need to do.”
AOPA President Craig Fuller said, “It is an honor to help you put a spotlight on the good work being done by these organizations. We cannot have too many people recognizing the fine people of general aviation. Everybody wins.”
AOPA Senior Features Editor Julie Summers Walker joined AOPA in 1998. She is a student pilot still working toward her solo.
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