Twenty-four individuals have been selected as winners of the 2015 AOPA Flight Training Scholarships, a program designed to help aviation trainees of all ages earn a pilot certificate. The scholarships are funded by donations to the AOPA Foundation.
The winners, who included 10 female aviators, three helicopter pilots-in-training, 11 high-school and college-aged student pilots, and one recipient in her sixties, will receive grants ranging from $2,500 to $12,000.
The 2015 recipients were selected from an initial applicant pool of more than 700 that was narrowed down to 36 finalists, then 24 winners, by a review team of AOPA staff members who included flight instructors and student pilots.
"We recognize that the cost of learning to fly can sometimes be a barrier for student pilots," said Stephanie Kenyon, AOPA Foundation vice president. "And with generous contributions to the AOPA Foundation, our donors are helping us provide scholarships to these deserving, aspiring pilots."
The AOPA Flight Training Scholarship program launched in 2011 with a focus on facilitating a positive flight training experience that would encourage student pilots to achieve their goals. By helping to produce new pilots, the scholarship program also strives to ensure general aviation’s future, with scholarship recipients serving as ambassadors for GA and flight training on a grass-roots level.
Four awards were made in the program’s first year. Its growth to 24 scholarship awards in 2015 was made possible by the generous donations of organizations and individuals: the Blackburn Flight Scholarships, the Breitling Aviation Scholarship Fund, the Buddy Flights Scholarship, the Richard R. and Gretchen E. Harper Scholarships in memory of Richard R. Harper, the Noe-Singer Flight Training Scholarship, the Erral Lea Plymate Memorial Endowment Scholarships, the Gina Santori Flight Training Scholarship, the Richard Santori Memorial Scholarship, and the Ceci Stratford Flight Training Scholarship.