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Lightspeed 2014 Pilots Choice grant recipients named

The Lightspeed Aviation Foundation has announced the recipients of its 2014 Pilots Choice Awards. Eight aviation charities, selected through online voting, will receive grants from $2,000 to $10,000.

Pilots N Paws was awarded a cash grant of $10,000 as the organization that received the largest number of votes. The organization "brings pilots and plane owners together to share the gift of flight to assist with the transportation of rescue, shelter or foster animals," Lightspeed Aviation Foundation said in a news release announcing the awards. Pilots N Paws will use the funding to host flyway events and acquire booth space at aviation functions, to increase the organization's visibility in the aviation community.

New Tribes Mission, of Sanford, Florida, was named to receive an $8,000 cash grant. The group’s pilots and technicians provide "direct, efficient and safe missionary aviation support in remote areas around the world," and will put the funds toward acquiring a fuel efficient airplane for the group’s work in Papua New Guinea, Lightspeed said.

The Ninety-Nines will receive a $6,000 cash grant. The international organization of women pilots will apply the grant funds to expanding outreach and developing new programs "to advance women in aviation through education, scholarships, and mutual support; while sharing an international passion for flight."

Cash grants of from $2,000 to $5,000 were also awarded to five organizations.

The Academy of Model Aeronautics, the world’s largest model aviation association with more than 150,000 members, will use its funding to hold a day camp to help build a pilot program to share with model aeronautics clubs nationwide.

The Civil Air Patrol received a grant award that it will use to help fund and expand youth participation in the K-6 Aerospace Connections in Education (ACE) program.

Mission Aviation Fellowship will use an award to operate programs and expand services in its efforts to use “aviation, technology and faith to meet the physical and spiritual needs of isolated people around the world,” Lightspeed said.

Angel Flight West will use its grant award to accelerate a campaign of marketing and outreach to pilots. The organization arranges free, non-emergency air travel for children and adults with serious medical conditions and other needs. 

Patient AirLift Services, an organization that arranges free air transportation through a volunteer pilot network for medical, compassionate, and humanitarian flights for those in need, will use its new grant funds in a variety of programs and operational areas. 

"Awarding these aviation charities provides the opportunity to advance their individual cause and together expand awareness and appreciation for aviation," said Allan Schrader, president of Lightspeed Aviation on Nov. 1 when the grants were announced at the Flying Aviation Expo in Palm Springs, California. "Since its inception, the Pilots 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."

Seven finalists also received recognition in the grants competition. They were Agape Flights, Missionary Flights International, Sun 'n Fun, The Flying Doctors, Think Global Flight, Tomorrow's Aeronautical Museum, and Whirly-Girls International.

The Lightspeed Aviation Foundation was established in 2010 by headset manufacturer Lightspeed Aviation Corp., to serve the aviation community.

Nominations and grant applications for the 2015 Pilots Choice Awards are available on the Lightspeed Aviation Foundation website to aviation nonprofits committed to growing the pilot community and using their gifts for compassion and service to others.

AOPA ePublishing staff
AOPA ePublishing Staff editors are experienced pilots, flight instructors, and aircraft owners who have a passion for bringing you the latest news and AOPA announcements.
Topics: Financial, Public Benefit Flying, Aviation Industry

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