A Little Financial Help From Some Friends

Even teachers can apply for AOPA scholarships.

AOPA scholarships will help 100 lucky pilots defray the cost of learning to fly.Daryl LaBello/Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University

Learning to fly is fun, but as pilots also learn early on, flight training demands a commitment not only to the academics, but to ensuring the solid flow of cash needed to earn a pilot certificate. One of the biggest stressors for new pilots is the sticker shock of how to cover the cost of all the necessary training that begins with a private pilot certificate.

The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association last week announced some real help for 100 budding pilots who, as AOPA members, could qualify for one of the association’s 100 individual scholarships valued at $10,000 each. AOPA’s awards are aimed at a variety of students, some 80 high schoolers between ages 15 and 18 and 20 teachers. Academic professionals were included to nudge them into using aviation in their classrooms wherever possible.

Scholarship recipients can use their awards to pay direct flight training expenses toward a primary pilot certificate. Scholarship recipients must complete a flight training milestone – achieving either their first solo or earning a primary pilot certificate – within one year of receiving their award. Teachers who apply for a scholarship must be full-time employees of a school or school system working to prepare students for a future in aviation.

The application deadline for the 2019 You Can Fly High School Flight Training Scholarships is April 2, 2019 at 11:59 p.m. EDT. The scholarships are made possible by a $1 million grant from the Ray Foundation to the AOPA Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. The million dollar scholarship funding comes from the Ray Foundation and represents a tenfold increase over the $100,000 in high school scholarships awarded in 2018. The Ray Foundation noted that the increase in scholarship funding, together with a $2 million matching grant, recognizes the outstanding performance of the You Can Fly program and encourages other pilots to offer their support by doubling the impact of their donations.

Potential applicants are encouraged to review the eligibility requirements for high schoolers and teachers. Winners will be announced this May.