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Colorado airfield launches teen pilotsColorado airfield launches teen pilots

A group of Colorado aviation enthusiasts based at Meadow Lake Airport in Peyton has been launching the next generation of pilots to the skies for more than a decade, but what else would you expect from an airfield with the identifier FLY?

Founded in 2002, the nonprofit Aviation Education Foundation of Colorado provides aviation education programs and awareness for local young people seeking professional aviation career paths and aerospace opportunities.

In the past 12 months, more than a dozen of the foundation’s young graduates have earned their private pilot or commercial pilot certificates, airframe and powerplant mechanic certificates, and instrument ratings. Nine more have performed their solo flights.

AOPA Northwest Regional Manager Warren Hendrickson said, “The Aviation Education Foundation of Colorado is a tremendous role model for how to mentor young people.”

Youths ages 15 to 19 with an interest in aviation can apply to attend the foundation’s free Aviation Summer Flight Experience academy June 15 through 24, or learn basic aviation theory and rules during free ground school courses at the Colorado Springs airfield.

Students who successfully complete the ground school class are eligible to take the FAA private pilot knowledge exam.

The foundation also makes several flight training scholarships available for 17-year-old students, enabling them to jump start flight training, complete solo flights, or help pay for training and advanced ratings.

Hendrickson is planning to attend an upcoming ground school class in June at the privately owned, public-use airfield to explain AOPA's benefits, its many training opportunities, and its advocacy on behalf of pilots.

Hendrickson said Meadow Lake has an active Experimental Aircraft Association chapter that helps share the joy of flight with about 50 students per month.

The 2016 summer flight academy application deadline is May 26 and students must enclose a transcript along with a short essay describing their aviation goals. Information about the Colorado foundation’s additional aviation grants and scholarships is available online.

David Tulis

David Tulis

Associate Editor Web/ePilot
AOPA Associate Editor Web/ePilot David Tulis joined AOPA in 2015 and is a seaplane-rated private pilot who enjoys vintage aircraft, aerobatic flying, and photography.
Topics: Advocacy, Flight Training, Scholarship

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