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Phillips 66 Awards Flight Training Scholarship to Ben Van Handel

Young aviation enthusiast can now pursue pilot certificate

By Katie Holliday-Greenley

July 26, 2017 - Phillips 66 announced Ben Van Handel as the winner of the Phillips 66 Flight Training Award at the Young Eagles dinner Wednesday.

“My heart raced,” Ben said, after receiving the news he had won the award. “I was in awe and will be forever thankful for this opportunity to earn my pilot’s certificate, a true dream of mine becoming a reality.”

The scholarship, which is new this year, is administered by EAA Education Director Bret Steffen, who said the winner is chosen by a team in Oshkosh.

“As with all of our scholarships, there’s an online tool where they fill out a form, and then, depending on the scholarship, they answer three short essay questions,” Bret said.

For the Phillips 66 scholarship, the essay questions assessed applicant’s interest and involvement in aviation.

“Ever since I was young, my head turns skyward when I hear an airplane coming, whether it be a commercial jet to a general aviation aircraft,” Ben said. He added that he took his Young Eagles flight at Pioneer Airport in 2014, has attended EAA AirVenture Oshkosh since he was 15, flies RC aircraft, and this year is interning with EAA’s Young Eagles program.

As the name suggests, the Phillips 66 Flight Training Award provides the winner with $13,200 toward flight training at a Phillips 66 flight school. Ben, who is a sophomore at St. Norbert College in DePere, Wisconsin, said the scholarship will help him to achieve his dream of flying.

“I come from a family outside of aviation, and will be the first generation,” he said. “I have been on the outside looking in on aviation and wondering where to start. This opportunity will be my start, and it wouldn’t have been possible without the Young Eagles program. … Ultimately this scholarship means I will eventually be able to fly Young Eagles as a mentor pilot, and give young aviators the experience and opportunity I was so grateful enough to experience.”

Ben said he plans to pursue his instrument rating and commercial pilot certificate, and ultimately become either a corporate pilot or work for a general aviation company as a salesman with the ability to teach his clients how to fly their new aircraft.
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