ProJet Aviation leader Shye Gilad told a hangar packed with young people how a cadre of college friends pooled $400 to help him pursue flight training when he was working in a restaurant and scraping coins together to make ends meet. “That was my first scholarship,” Gilad told them as he paid it forward and helped award $354,441 during the fourteenth annual Aviation Education and Career Expo in Leesburg, Virginia, November 1.
He encouraged about 1,000 enthusiastic students to pursue aviation because he said it would help develop their “character, confidence, and decision-making skills," which are common to fellow aviators.
“You can do anything if you have the passion to do it,” said retired U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Joe Tate, a former Air Force One pilot instructor. “You cannot imagine all the wonderful things that can happen” if you put your mind to it, he said.
A smiling Chelsea Montgomery, of Bloomington, Minnesota, who trained in a Piper Warrior, concurred as she held a replica check for a $5,000 flight training scholarship. The the 21-year-old private pilot and University of Minnesota Twin Cities business major planned to use the funds for her commercial pilot certificate and hoped to enroll at ATP Flight School. “I guess I always had a passion for aviation,” she said before hurrying to join dozens of other scholarship winners for a celebratory group photo.