Student pilot Meagan Huerta sold her motorcycle and handmade artwork to continue her flight training, with long-term goals of becoming a CFI, an A&P, and a flight school owner. The Jacksonville, Florida, resident’s financial strain should ease a bit after she was awarded a $3,000 2021 AOPA Student Pilot Scholarship hosted by Women in Aviation (WAI) during the group’s virtual conference March 11.
The 24-year-old student pilot became interested in pursuing aviation after learning firsthand about the importance of helicopter medical evacuations. Both her brother and her sister were airlifted from separate accidents and it left a lasting impression on her. Huerta said she hopes to become an emergency medical services pilot “to help the rest of my brothers and sisters” in the community.
The A&P apprentice currently raises funds for her flight lessons by washing airplanes at Herlong Recreational Airport, participating in maintenance flights “just to get in the air,” and by making and selling artwork. She is training with A-Cent Aviation Inc. and flying a Cessna 150, which is easier on her pocketbook than a helicopter. Huerta reluctantly sold her motorcycle and put aside the proceeds for flight training with an end goal of operating her own fixed-wing and rotorcraft flight school.
In her role as outreach chair for the local WAI chapter, Huerta hopes to establish relationships with the Boys and Girls Clubs of America, the Wounded Warrior Project, FemArt Gallery Inc., Habitat for Humanity, and local public schools. She found that combining artwork with learning helps empower youth to better visualize their dreams and plans to expand her outreach into the flight training community with a creative learning approach “that benefits visual, aural, kinesthetic, verbal, and tactile learners.”
Huerta was thankful for the scholarship and said it would go a long way toward helping her earn a private pilot certificate, and to eventually help others through aviation.
“I’m really excited about the scholarship because I have plenty of plans for the future and it’s nice to get support” from the aviation community, she said.
There were 56 applicants for the scholarship. “It was a tough choice since all of the applicants were excellent,” said Stephen Schroeder, AOPA Flight Training Initiative coordinator.
The You Can Fly program is funded by charitable donations to the AOPA Foundation, a 501(c)(3) organization. To be a part of the solution, visit www.aopafoundation.org/donate.