Applications open for Girls With Wings, other scholarships

GAMA, San Carlos Flight Center also offer funds

January 30, 2014

Scholarships open opportunities for entries into aviation-related fields and help students focus on their lessons instead of how much those lesson cost. Aviation organizations recognize the importance of investing in the future of aviation by offering scholarships. Each month, AOPA covers new scholarships that are open to applicants and highlights success stories of past scholarship winners. Share these opportunities with those you know who are in training for an aviation-related field.

Scholarship opportunities

Girls With Wings, Inc., a nonprofit organization encouraging more girls to have an interest in aviation, has opened applications for three scholarships that it will award in 2014, according to founder Lynda Meeks.

The $2,500 Private Pilot Scholarship will help defray the cost of flight training lessons for those who have soloed but have not completed their private pilot certificate. The $500 Dreams Take Flight Scholarship helps pay for introductory flight training to encourage achievement of a stated goal, whether in aviation or in another field of study. And the new $1,000 Advanced Rating Scholarship helps defray the cost of pursuing an advanced rating or certificate, including an instrument rating, commercial pilot certificate, flight instructor certificate, instrument flight instructor certificate, multiengine rating or multiengine flight instructor certificate.

The Wichita Aero Club has created a scholarship for college or post-graduate students in honor of former Cessna public relations chief Dean Humphrey. The scholarship is the second created by the Wichita Aero Club and targets students who want careers in aviation. “The Wichita Aero Club Dean Humphrey Scholarship will not only honor Dean’s memory but is designed to support students who wish to follow his example into communications, administrative or other non-technical roles in aviation-related organizations,” said Wichita Aero Club President Dave Franson.

The General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) has opened applications for two scholarships awarded annually to students who have excelled in or are pursuing aviation studies. The $2,000 Edward W. Stimpson Aviation Excellence Award is given to a graduating high school senior who has been accepted to and will be enrolled in an aviation degree core program at his or her chosen university or college. The $2,000 Dr. Harold S. Wood Award for Excellence is given annually to a college student who is a flight team member at a National Intercollegiate Flying Association (NIFA) member school. Applications are due April 18.

Able Flight, created to offer people with disabilities a unique way to challenge themselves through flight and aviation career training, has opened applications for four types of scholarships: full scholarships for those who want to earn a sport pilot certificate; return to flight for those who became disabled after already earning a pilot’s certificate and want to fly under the sport pilot rule; Flight Training Challenge Scholarships, for those who can benefit from dual instruction only, and have no current plans to seek a sport pilot certificate; and Career Training Scholarships, for those who wish to train to earn an FAA-issued repairman certificate (light sport aircraft) with maintenance rating, or an FAA dispatcher license. They are also encouraging women with disabilities to apply for the scholarship.

The Upwind Summer Scholarship Program is now taking applications for its 2014 scholarship program. Upwind helps by offering free flight training to high school students interested in becoming a private pilot during the summer between their junior and senior year. The program is run in partnership with San Carlos Flight Center. The deadline to apply is Feb. 28.

Girls With Wings scholarship success stories

Alaina Kappner received a $1,000 flight training scholarship in 2012. “With the scholarship, I was able to transition from a sport pilot to a private pilot,” she said. “It also gave me the boost of confidence I needed; flying is expensive, and it quieted the thoughts of `How much is this lesson going to cost?’ and instead allowed me to focus more on `What am I learning today?’”

Kappner currently attends the United States Military Academy and is hoping to go into aviation when she graduates. “Currently, I am the only freshman and female to make it on the West Point flying team. There is no way I could have gotten on the team without the Girls With Wings scholarship,” she said. “The scholarship helped me not only earn my private pilot's license, but it also helped me rack up the hours I needed to score an interview with the team.”

Amber Phillips, an FAA airframe mechanic and area lead for Quest Aircraft, won the Spring 2013 Private Pilot Scholarship. She has worked for Quest Aircraft for six years, building the Kodiak. “After receiving my airframe license in 2012 and soon-to-be private pilot certificate, I have plans set out to help further women in aviation in both the mechanic and pilot fields,” she said. “I’m just waiting for good weather in Idaho to finish up my checkride.”

Kimberly Kanapeckas won the $500 Dreams Take Flight Scholarship in 2013. “The award helped me not to feel so anxious about time and money constraints or learning curves, but rather to relax while I concentrated on safe and then smooth landings,” she said. “I soloed, passed my FAA private pilot airman knowledge examination, and completed cross-countries to North Carolina and Georgia.”  She’s also completed much of the instrument rating syllabus and wants to pursue her commercial and float/ski rating.

Janice Hernandez has been busy since she won a $1,000 flight training scholarship in 2010. “Since I received my scholarship, I earned my private pilot license and also received my commercial flight degree an aviation science degree and a bachelor’s degree in aviation management,” she said.  “I was waiting to hear from the FAA in order to go to the Academy to become an air traffic controller. As of now I will be re-applying in February and crossing my fingers that the FAA's new hiring process helps pull me though.”