Recognizing that the cost of learning to fly can pose a significant barrier for some student pilots, AOPA earlier this year established two $5,000 flight training scholarships—the AOPA Flight Training Scholarship and the Erral Lea Plymate Memorial Scholarship. To qualify, applicants had to hold a student pilot certificate but not yet a pilot certificate, complete an online application, and receive two recommendations.
Turecek’s dream of flight began on a sightseeing flight she arranged for herself and her husband on their fifth anniversary. She quickly realized that earning her certificate could be a great way for them to “get away.” She was in it for the fun. Sadly, cancer claimed her husband’s life before she could complete her training. Now her learning to fly has a more serious purpose. Turecek wants to fulfill one of her husband’s final wishes and scatter his ashes over the ocean from a plane that she is piloting. After that, she intends to work with a volunteer medical airlift organization. The Erral Lea Plymate Memorial Scholarship will help her achieve her goals.
“The scholarships, like our Flight Training Student Retention Initiative, are part of AOPA’s continued commitment to grow the pilot population,” said Jennifer Storm, AOPA director of flight training initiatives. “Although four scholarships, on their own, won’t reverse the declining numbers overnight, we are thrilled to help four very deserving people achieve their dreams of flight. And that’s four more aviation ambassadors who can encourage others to follow their dreams.”