Pilot's Choice grants fund mission work, new-pilot outreach

Lightspeed Foundation grants total $60,000

November 20, 2013

An organization dedicated to transporting rescue, shelter, and foster animals was selected as the top charity in Lightspeed Aviation Foundation’s 2013 Pilot’s Choice Awards, the foundation announced Nov. 18.

Pilots N Paws topped the list of 10 aviation charities, including several devoted to missionary flying and cultivating the next generation of pilots, selected by online voting to share grants totaling $60,000. Next were New Tribes Mission, which will use the grant toward the overhaul of a Robinson R44 helicopter, and the Civil Air Patrol, which will help fund the K-6 Aerospace Connections in Education program.

"Since its inception, the Pilot's Choice voting and awards have introduced us all to dozens of worthy charities and amazing people that are making a significant impact around the world," said Lightspeed Aviation President Allan Schrader in a media release. "With twice as many votes as last year, the awards are having a meaningful impact on expanding awareness and appreciation for aviation."

Missionary organizations that use aviation to reach remote locations took four of the top spots. In addition to New Tribes Mission, Mission Aviation Fellowship was sixth in votes received, Missionary Flights International eighth, and JAARS ninth. Mission Aviation Fellowship uses nearly 60 airplanes flying 2.7 million miles each year to provide essential services to remote locations, the release said. Missionary Flights International, which provides air support to missionary families in Haiti, the Dominican Republic, and the Bahamas, will use its grant to help fund a turbine Douglas DC-3 for operations in Haiti. JAARS, which provides aviation support, transportation, and information services for Bible translation efforts, will use the funds for new projects in Tanzania or Southeast Asia.

Other recipients include The Ninety-Nines, which placed fourth in voting and will use the grant for outreach and a new Solo Scholarship that will go to a high school girl who has not begun flight training; the Recreational Aviation Foundation, which placed fifth and will fund efforts to preserve and maintain backcountry and recreational airstrips; and volunteer non-emergency medical transport organization Angel Flight West, seventh, which will make modifications to its IT system. Rounding out the top 10 was Air Race Classic, a competition for women pilots, to fund collegiate outreach. Lightspeed Aviation Foundation highlights the winners in this online video.