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Flying Musicians names multiple scholarship winnersFlying Musicians names multiple scholarship winners

The Flying Musicians Association awarded its first international solo scholarship to a Canadian clarinet player, vocalist, and aspiring pilot. Three other young musician-pilots also were awarded funds to pursue their solo flight training as the program continues to grow.

The Flying Musicians Association awarded its first international solo scholarship to Canadian clarinet player, vocalist, and aspiring pilot Courtney Taylor. Photo courtesy of the Flying Musicians Association.

Manitoba, Canada’s Courtney Taylor joined Tennessee’s Isaac Hill, Michigan’s Aaron Smokovitz, and Pennsylvania’s William Knauth as the musically oriented aviation association’s four scholarship winners for 2017.

The Flying Musicians Association began the program two years ago with a single award that helped Florida jazz lover Drew Medina fulfill his dream to solo a Piper Archer III near the aircraft company’s Vero Beach headquarters. Tennessee horn player Sarah Coffelt won the award in 2016.

With encouragement from musician-members and financial support from key aviation businesses, the solo scholarship has taken off, according to association president and Van’s Aircraft RV-6A pilot John Zapp, who is frequently spotted playing tunes on stage at hangar jams, fly-ins, and other aviation events.

Nominations for aviation-minded high school junior and senior musicians were received from 13 states plus Canada.

Taylor told the musicians’ association that when she took a flying lesson for her sixteenth birthday, “it made me realize that aviation is a passion of mine that will never fade.” Hill, a saxophonist, said he plans to pursue a career in aerospace. Smokovitz, a trumpeter, will soon begin a summer job at his local airport doing “whatever needs to be done.”

All four solo scholarship winners will receive financial support that enables them to complete their flight training through soloing an aircraft. They also will receive a handsome stash of study materials and pilot supplies from corporate donors including, Sporty’s Pilot Shop, Gleim Aviation, Bose Aviation, and Banjo Ben Clark. Clark, a Flying Musician Association member, played with country music sensation Taylor Swift.

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: Flight Training, Scholarship

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