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Upwind, Whirly-Girls announce scholarship winners

Four California teens have been selected to earn their private pilot certificates in the summer through the Upwind Summer Scholarship Program, the Upwind Foundation announced March 26.

The Upwind Foundation has selected its scholarship class of 2015.

The scholarship provides ground school, flight training, and other flight training resources for Anthony Bellanti of San Mateo, Kevin Gray of Belmont, Evan Isenstein-Brand of Pacifica, and Michelle Karpishin of San Mateo. The students will begin ground school in April and continue with flight training in the summer between their junior and senior years in high school, according to the nonprofit organization. Ground and flight instruction for the 2015 winners will be conducted at San Carlos Flight Center.

“We are extremely pleased to award four scholarships this year—double the number of scholarships awarded in prior years,” said Upwind Board Chairman Dan Dyer in a media release. “There were several qualified candidates and the final decision was not an easy one.”

Bellanti, a student at Burlingame High School, is interested in architecture and works as a lifeguard for the Burlingame Aquatic Club, according to the release; he said earning his pilot certificate is a lifelong dream. Gray, whose goals include becoming a Naval aviator and astronaut, said he is fascinated by the engineering and mathematics of aviation, its potential to change lives, and the feeling one gets in the air. The junior at Carlmont High School enjoys board sports and parkour and works at Planet Granite, according to Upwind.

Isenstein-Brand, a student at Sequoia High School, works on the flight line team at San Carlos Flight Center and shares his photojournalism work on a website, Upwind said. “A magical flight in an open-cockpit biplane when I was 8 years old got me hooked on flying, and I haven’t been able to shake the craving for flight since,” he said. Karpishin, a junior at Hillsdale High School and competitive swimmer, plans to study mechanical or aerospace engineering in college and hopes to improve airplane safety or the design of spacecraft, according to Upwind.

The Upwind scholarships were created by Bay Area pilots to promote piloting and general aviation, and to cultivate interest in aviation as a career.


Whirly-Girls International also announced its 2015 scholarship winners in March. The nonprofit, which is dedicated to “advancing women in helicopter aviation,” announced the winners of 14 scholarships March 1 at the organization’s annual banquet at HAI Heli-Expo in Orlando, Florida.

Whirly-Girls International announced the winners of the organization's 2015 scholarships March 1.

San Francisco flight instructor Rebecca Joseph won initial type training, recurrent training, and inadvertent IMC training using a Bell 206 FAA Level 7-qualified flight training device. Air Evac Lifeteam 206 Bell Flight Training scholarships will allow Banumathi Cole, study director for HemoShear in Earlysville, Virginia, and Savannah Christy, one of the line service personnel for Sunriver Resort in Oregon, to take a Bell 206 transition course.

Katrina Hallgren, an instructor for Classic Helicopters in Seattle, won ground school and five hours of flight time through the Advanced Mountain Flight Training Scholarship. The training emphasizes decision making for helicopter missions that require off-airport landings. Megan McCall of Huntington Beach, California, and Alexandra Thorsen of Titusville, Florida, were awarded Survival Systems USA Aircraft Ditching Course Scholarships, and Cristina Gonazalez Ordriozola, an instructor at Benitez Aviation in Caguas, Puerto Rico, was awarded the Aviation Specialties Unlimited Night Vision Goggle (NVG) Flight Training Scholarship for an NVG endorsement.

Katherine Garrison, a pilot for Air Evac Lifeteam in Bexley, Ohio, received flight training funds to “upgrade her current rating.” Sabine Buehlmann, a pilot for LifeFlight GmbH and Co. KG, in Cologne, Germany, won an Airbus AS350 Turbine Transition Course in Grand Prairie, Texas. Another scholarship grants Venida Hayes, a flight instructor for Helios Aviation/Cactus Aviation in Las Vegas, an opportunity to attend Robinson Helicopter’s safety course in Torrance, California, and build R44 time. The Robinson Helicopter Maintenance Course Scholarship will allow Tracy Zedeck to attend a factory course for maintaining R22, R44, and R66 airframes.

Hawaii helicopter tour pilot Margot Taylor received a scholarship to earn her vertical reference/external load endorsement. Jessica Martin won the Agricultural Air Services Flight Training Scholarship, which includes an introduction to the skills required for low-level flying and 10 hours of turbine flight time. NOAA King Air pilot Nicole Cabana was awarded the Whirly-Girls Helicopter Add-on Flight Training Scholarship to earn her add-on helicopter rating.

Looking for more information on scholarships? AOPA administers a scholarship program for student pilots of all ages; applications for the 2015 AOPA Flight Training Scholarship Program will be available by May 22. Or check out more news related to scholarships here.

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: Scholarship, Training and Safety, Helicopter

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