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Ray Aviation Scholarship Approaching 70 Successful Scholars

  • EAA
    Luke Nordvik of EAA Chapter 551, who was the first 2020 scholar to complete flight training, poses on the wing of a Piper Cherokee.

July 2020 – EAA's Ray Aviation Scholarship program, which began awarding scholarships in spring of 2019, recently hit the major milestone of 60 successful Ray scholars from the 2019 scholarship class. In addition, seven of the 2020 scholars have already completed training.

Since the program's inception in 2019, nearly 200 scholarships have been awarded. Of that group of recipients, 63 scholars have earned their pilot certificate and an additional 84 have completed their first solo flight. The program is on track for an 85-90 percent completion rate, which is a dramatic improvement over the industry flight-training success rate of 20 percent.

The program is managed by EAA and administered through its chapter network. EAA chapters are responsible for identifying youths for the Ray Aviation Scholarship program and mentoring them through flight training. The involvement of EAA chapters has proven to be the key to success, especially when it comes to supporting scholars though the difficulties stemming from the current COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, the mentorship and guidance as it applies to the FAA knowledge exam has been an invaluable asset of the program, as this tends to be the choke point for many in flight training.

To help highlight a few of the success stories from the first year of the Ray scholar program, EAA hosted a special panel discussion with three of the scholars during EAA’s Spirit of Aviation Week: Sonja Karner, EAA Chapter 252; Anders Walter, EAA Chapter 29; and Ian Parsons, EAA Chapter 863. You can view a recording of that discussion here!

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