The Helicopter Foundation International (HFI) has announced 18 scholarship recipients for 2018. The scholarships, offered to aviation students around the world, continue the foundation’s longstanding mission to educate the next generation of helicopter industry professionals. HFI is the charitable arm of Helicopter Association International (HAI), and is recognized as a 501(c)(3) organization by the IRS.
This year’s awards include six scholarships for students in helicopter maintenance technician programs, four scholarships for pilots working toward commercial helicopter ratings, one for safety professionals, and seven for established maintenance professionals seeking training for specific helicopters or components.
HFI funds these scholarships—valued this year at about $30,000—through donations, auctions, and other fundraising events. As a nonprofit foundation, HFI also supports helicopter safety programs and preservation of the helicopter industry’s history.
Each year, HFI presents four $5,000 scholarships to pilots working toward the commercial helicopter rating so they can pursue employment as a helicopter pilot. This year’s recipients are Carl Bloecher of Arlington, Virginia; Bastian Ebersbach of Hillsboro, Oregon; Troy Goldberg of Kailua-Kona, Hawaii; and Rebecca Voltin of Lyons, Oregon.
Additionally, HFI awards up to six $2,500 scholarships for students in maintenance technician programs. This year’s awards went to Isaiah Crawford of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina; Derek Galla of Holland, Ohio; Kirstie McLean of Las Vegas, Nevada; Austin Rowles of Fort Worth, Texas; Michael Strickland of Carmanville, Newfoundland, Canada; and Matthew Vig of Opal, South Dakota.
The Michelle North Scholarship for Safety was awarded to Michelle Payne of Pompano Beach, Florida. North is a past chairman of the HAI safety committee, an educator, and an industry-recognized helicopter safety expert and advocate.
HFI also oversees the Bill Sanderson Aviation Maintenance Scholarships, administering the program on behalf of HAI’s technical committee. Offered in conjunction with airframe, engine, and avionics manufacturers, recipients use the scholarships to attend airframe- or equipment-specific training courses with stipends of up to $1,600; manufacturers provide support in the program. Recipients this year include Samuel Pham of Camp Hill, Pennsylvania (Airbus); Christoper Carreiro of Lyndhurst, New Jersey (Leonardo); Douglas Sena of Wyoming, Ohio (MD Helicopters); Corey Oestreich of Helena, Montana (Safran Turbomeca); Myles Van Patten of Stettler, Alberta, Canada (Rolls-Royce); Dennis Sieczkowski of Springfield, Oregon (Honeywell); and Damimola Olawuyi of Emene, Enugu, Nigeria (Pratt and Whitney).
“We encourage students around the world to pursue their dreams of flying and maintaining helicopters,” McKay said. Applications for the 2019 scholarships open in September; information is available online.