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AOPA Foundation funds $196K in scholarships in 2016AOPA Foundation funds $196K in scholarships in 2016

Forty-two aviation enthusiasts are on their way to earning their pilot certificates thanks to generous donations to the AOPA Foundation in 2016. Two more will be able to attend aviation summer camps, and another will receive financial assistance to pursue a flight science degree in college. The foundation provided $196,000 in scholarships to people ranging from high school teenagers to adults.

AOPA Foundation Flight Training scholarship recipient Kristen Dwiggins recently soloed in a Liberty XL2 and now trains in the Piper Archer pictured here. Photo courtesy of Dwiggins.

“This is one of the most tangible ways we can build the pilot population—helping one student pilot at a time,” said Mike Tompos, AOPA Foundation vice president of philanthropy. “We are privileged to be able to use pilots’ donations to help fulfill others’ dream of learning to fly.”

In September, the foundation announced 15 AOPA Flight Training Scholarship winners, ranging from two 17-year-olds to a 53-year-old. Then, in November, two more scholarships were awarded, one to an Alabama School of Fine Arts graduate and another to a single mom attending LeTourneau University in Texas. Four of the recipients have earned their private pilot certificates, and at least two have soloed. AOPA featured Kristen Dwiggins, a 36-year-old airport project manager in Cary, North Carolina, who completed her first solo in a Liberty light sport aircraft and has transitioned to a Piper Archer.

Another 21 aviation enthusiasts won $5,000 scholarships in December. Gifts to the foundation funded these scholarships for AOPA’s You Can Fly High School Aviation Initiative. The high school students ranged from 15 to 18 years of age, and all have ambitious aviation plans for their futures. Now, they have a little extra help to get over the first step: earning their initial pilot certificate.

Also in December, AOPA notified seven AV8RS scholarship winners funded by donations to the foundation. Four of the seven scholarships were to help the students pursue their pilot certificates, two were to help students attend aviation summer camps, and one was to put toward a college education for an aviation degree. AOPA AV8RS is a membership tier for teens ages 13 to 18; the foundation covers the cost of membership.

The foundation also funds the AOPA Air Safety Institute’s free online courses and in-person seminars; You Can Fly efforts to grow the pilot population and help rusty pilots get back in the air; AOPA's programs to promote community airports; and the association's efforts to improve the public’s perception of general aviation.

“Your donation to the AOPA Foundation helps prospective and already certificated pilots alike,” Tompos said. “You have a direct impact on the vitality and future of general aviation.”

The AOPA Foundation is a 501(c)3 charitable organization.

Alyssa J. Miller

Alyssa J. Miller

AOPA Director of eMedia and Online Managing Editor
AOPA Director of eMedia and Online Managing Editor Alyssa J. Miller has worked at AOPA since 2004 and is an active flight instructor.
Topics: AOPA Foundation, You Can Fly, Giving

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