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Donation funds flight scholarshipsDonation funds flight scholarships

$100,000 gift to train new pilots$100,000 gift to train new pilots

AOPA President Mark Baker, right, accepts a $100,000 scholarship donation from Thomas Prevost, president of the Corporate Aircraft Association, in memory of CAA founders Fred and Diane Fitts. Photo by Thomas B. Haines.

A legacy of aviation excellence fostered by the husband and wife team of Frederick and Diane Fitts will continue through a new scholarship program funded by a memorial gift to the AOPA Foundation. Thomas Prevost, president of the Corporate Aircraft Association, presented a $100,000 check to AOPA President Mark Baker to establish a scholarship fund in the name of the aviation entrepreneurs, both of whom died earlier this year just 40 days apart.

Fred Fitts was a pilot and FBO owner before starting the Corporate Aircraft Association in 1990. Together with Diane, the couple built the successful fuel and resource purchasing program from scratch, starting from a spare room in their home with Diane working as a blackjack dealer at a nearby casino to keep things going.

At the time of Fred’s recent retirement from CAA, the organization was made up of hundreds of pilots and FBOs leveraging buying power to earn fuel and other discounts. Conklin and de Decker in 2012 named the organization as one that provides the best overall value in its field.

In handing the check over to Baker at the National Business Aviation Association convention in Las Vegas, Prevost said his memorial gift to the foundation is designed to help young people get into aviation, perhaps allowing another generation to fulfill the Fitts’ goal of providing value and quality to others.

The Fitts gift joins many others provided by donors who want to create a lasting legacy that builds a new generation of pilots. The AOPA Foundation administers many scholarship funds. In addition, many individual donations are used to provide flight training scholarships. To learn more about how to donate to the AOPA Foundation and its causes, visit the website.

Thomas B. Haines

Thomas B Haines

Editor in Chief
AOPA Editor in Chief Tom Haines joined AOPA in 1988. He owns and flies a Beechcraft A36 Bonanza. Since soloing at 16 and earning a private pilot certificate at 17, he has flown more than 100 models of general aviation airplanes.
Topics: Scholarship, Pilot Training and Certification, Giving

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