Congrats to new Private Pilot 2019 Ray Aviation Scholar, Carter Allain

Congratulations to our 2019 Ray Aviation Scholar, Carter Allain, on completing his Private Pilot checkride!  Carter is our first, in what we hope will be an annual, Private Pilot training scholarship recipient.  As a Ray Scholar, Carter received a Lightspeed Zulu 3 headset last spring and rode along with several other Ray Scholars in the B-25 and B-17 to begin the Wednesday night air show at Air-Venture 2019 in Oshkosh!

In 2019, the Ray Aviation Foundation granted the EAA to award $1,000,000 in pilot training scholarships up to $10,000 each.  Out of the 900+ chapters, Chapter 186 was one of the 100 chapters selected last year to award a scholarship.  This program requires chapters to apply each year to be selected as a Ray Scholarship chapter.  We have applied again for 2020, and hope to hear in February that we are again able to give out up to $10,000 this year for a motivated private pilot candidate.

Once we are approved to give out a scholarship, we will begin the search process, most likely in February/March.  We will send out a questionnaire to likely candidates asking for information such as membership status (both EAA and chapter), participation in Young Eagle flights, past participation in Chapter 186 activities, level completed in the Sporty’s Learn-To-Fly ground school, actual flight training experience, possible FAA aviation medical certificate, past attendance at the EAA Air Academy, level of commitment towards flight training during school year, level of commitment during summer months, etc.  The cost for Private Pilot training realistically can be around $12,000 or more, so we will include a discussion question on how the candidate will fund the difference.  The EAA requires the Ray Scholar to participate in chapter activities during the period while going through training, so there will be a question regarding ability to commit to volunteering at chapter activities.

Once a candidate is selected by Chapter 186, he/she will fill out an online application to EAA.  Similar questions will be on that application, but that process is cursory in nature, as only our one final candidate will perform this step.  At this point in time, our candidate will need to have an FAA Aviation Medical Certificate.  This is required for the EAA application.

We will be looking for candidates in the age range 16 to 19.  Private Pilot training requires a large time commitment.  Weather and scheduling issues often can make the training process drag out longer than anticipated.  A high level of commitment in the summer months will help the scholar get through the pre-solo and solo phases and begin the cross-country phase.  Once the school year resumes, the scholar then has a strong foundation for completing training with fewer hours available.  A large commitment during the school year will be required to finish within the required one year.

Bob Prange
Chapter 186 Scholarship Coordinator