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You Can Fly Challenge provides key lift for GA

Launched on June 1, the 2024 You Can Fly Challenge is giving those passionate about flying an opportunity to directly support general aviation. Donations to the AOPA Foundation through the challenge will be matched by the Ray Foundation, and will support major initiatives to promote the future of GA.

Photo by Rebecca Boone.

The You Can Fly Challenge directly benefits important initiatives of the AOPA Foundation You Can Fly program, which continues to get more people into the skies and keep them there safely.

The You Can Fly program comprises several important initiatives including a unique aviation science, technology, engineering, and math curriculum for high school students; an innovative app that maximizes the efficiency of flight training; a flying clubs initiative that helps make flying more affordable; and a focus on helping lapsed pilots return to active flying.

The generosity of more than 2,900 donors paid big dividends in 2023, providing more than $3.5 million to the AOPA Foundation, and unlocking the Ray Foundation’s generous match. The late James C. Ray was a World War II veteran and a member of the AOPA Foundation President’s Council who “believed that life skills are learned through aviation.”

“You Can Fly is all about creating opportunities, and the You Can Fly Challenge gives generous donors a unique opportunity to double the impact of their gifts,” said Elizabeth Tennyson, AOPA chief operating officer. “We’re grateful to the Ray Foundation and the thousands of donors who participate in the challenge. Their support makes these initiatives possible.”

The AOPA Foundation’s You Can Fly program helps keep GA robust through several important initiatives:

High School

The AOPA Foundation High School Aviation STEM Curriculum provides aviation-based courses that allow students to discover career opportunities in aviation and aerospace. The program, which provides lessons in all four grades of high school, is currently being taught to more than 23,000 students in 46 states and the District of Columbia. To date, the initiative has engaged more than 71,000 students, with 60 percent of graduates reporting actively pursuing an aviation career.

The curriculum is offered free of charge to schools nationwide, and has broadened STEM and aviation opportunities for underserved students. Of this year’s class, 42 percent are students of color and 23 percent are female, groups traditionally underrepresented in aviation.

Flight Training

The You Can Fly Flight Training Initiative is redefining the industry through the innovative AOPA Flight Training Advantage (AFTA) app, a web- and iPad-based training program designed to help make the process of flight training more effective for all involved. AFTA is one way the initiative is working with flight schools, flight instructors, and students nationwide to create better flight training experiences. To date, more than 15,000 total hours have been logged through AFTA.

Flying Clubs

The AOPA Flying Clubs Initiative provides increased access to aircraft and makes flying more affordable. The initiative has helped form nearly 250 new flying clubs serving thousands of pilots. By offering engaging content, workshops, online resources, webinars, and ongoing counsel, the Flying Clubs Initiative is helping to grow clubs nationwide.

Rusty Pilots

The Rusty Pilots Initiative helps lapsed pilots return to active flying. With in-person seminars, webinars, and online courses, pilots can refresh their knowledge and connect with flight schools and instructors so they can complete a flight review. More than 13,500 formerly rusty pilots are back in the air after completing a Rusty Pilots course.

The 2024 You Can Fly Challenge is an excellent opportunity to double the impact of your support. Tax-deductible donations should be made by December 31 to count toward the match. For more information, please contact the AOPA Foundation at 800-872-2672 or online.

Alyssa J. Miller
Eric Blinderman
Senior Director of Communications
Eric Blinderman is AOPA’s Senior Director of Communications. Eric joined AOPA in 2020 after several years at leading marketing/communications agencies in New York and is looking forward to putting his newly minted private pilot certificate to work.
Topics: AOPA Foundation, You Can Fly

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