Bridging The GAP

By Phyllis R. Moses

Aviation students come in all shapes and sizes: younger, older; male, female; brown, black and white. But they have one thing in common: their clear, shiny eyes - eyes filled with hope, confidence and trust. Some have taken a thrilling introductory ride, while others still hang breathlessly over the fence at the end of the runway, watching take-offs and landings. All have high-flying dreams. What will it take for them to live out those dreams? It's sad to see those eyes lose their sparkle, as the lure of the dream -the excitement of choosing aviation as their career - yields to the reality of the empty bank account. Without money for training, students must put their future on hold indefinitely. What can be done to ensure this won't happen? As part of our ongoing efforts to encourage, inspire and inform serious students, Woman Pilot magazine provides a list of resources available for aspiring pilots. We encourage students to explore a few of these options to maximize their training connection.

Students who've moved ahead in their career track - who've taken advantage of outside funding and scholarships - share the results of their experiences. Katie Braun, First Officer on the DH8 with J Horizon Airlines, says, "It was at the Women in Aviation Conference in Dallas in 1996, when I realized so few women knew about the availability of scholarships. I had just been awarded the American Flyer CFI scholarship so I went around at the conference posting information on all the message boards. My scholarship gave me confidence, because I knew I had the best instrument training available. It also affirmed that others believed in me.

"Upon a visit to the Houston Space Center in 1996, I learned about the Judith Resnick Award. This courageous astronaut gave her life for the study of the exploration of space. She will long be remembered (thanks to her family who established a scholarship in her name), for her commitment to education: I'm grateful to have the opportunity to discuss her story and the scholarship contribution to flying careers of many women."

The best news of all is the comprehensive and informative scholarship resources available through a free database, AvScholars.com. This valuable, time-saving tool is designed to help the student identify and understand the methods of pursuing careers in aviation and aerospace. To gain information about financial aid and how to actually make application for a job, log on to http:// www.avscholars.com.

Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) offers an online resource, complete with names and addresses, plus email and web addresses of their listings. Go to http:// www.aopa.org and link through to their "learntofly/startfly/ whycollege.html" pages. Or call AOPA at 1-800-872-2672.

Drew Steketee with AOPA announced new scholarships within the CAP National Flight Academies this year. In addition to their support to regional CAP flight training encampments around the nation, they furnish a "Future Pilot Kit" containing valuable information and training publications. The amount of scholarships of this particular program is $4,000. Contact Drew Steketee, 301-695-2156; drew.steketee@aopa.org; www.aopa.org.

The Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) offers many worthwhile scholarships, two of which we'll mention here because they are tailored specifically for women. The Louise H. Timken "Young Women in Aviation" endowment, was established by the Timken Foundation in 1994. Through this grant, the Timken Aviation Studies Internships provide opportunities for training. More information can be accessed through Resident Education Office, EAA Aviation Foundation, Inc. P. O. Box 3065, Oshkosh, WI 54903-3065; 1-888/322-3229; email: education@eaa.org.

The Women Airforce Service Pilots, the WASP, fund a second scholarship, which is granted through the EAA Aviation Foundation. It perpetuates the WASP's legacy by recruiting and educating students. A committee of WASP selects participants from applications received at EAA by April 30th. The recipient of the award is presented to EAA by May 15th. Application is available through EAA, addresses same as above.

The Airline Pilots Association (ALPA) offers several scholarships for children of members who are disabled or deceased. For information call ALPA Scholarship Monitor, Air Line Pilots Association, 1625 Massachusetts Ave., N. W. Washington , D.C. 20036 ; or e-mail at GovBod @ alpa.org.

The Whirly-Girls, International Women Helicopter Pilots, present five scholarships to women annually. The Men's Auxiliary sponsors the 2001 Whirly Girls Helicopter Flight Training scholarship, consisting of $4500 in funding to assist a fixed wing, glider, or balloon pilot earn a helicopter rating. The second award, the Doris Mullen Scholarship, provides funds for a current Whirly Girl toward advanced ratings. Usually, this is used for turbine transition, instrument, or instructor ratings. Total amount: $4500.

For a current Whirly Girl member, Bell Helicopter Textron Company awards a third scholarship for a turbine transition. Classes are at the Bell Factory School in Texas . A fourth is Flight Safety's Instrument Refresher Scholarship for a Whirly Girl who already has an instrument rating in a helicopter. Training is at FSI Learning Center , Hurst , TX . Number five, an International Whirly Girl Scholarship, is for a fixed-wing, glider, or balloon pilot toward initial helicopter rating. A foreign Whirly Girl in good standing is also eligible to upgrade her present rating. Requests for applications for all scholarships may be obtained by writing to Scholarship President, Betsy Johnson, WG #215, Box R, Scappoose , OR , 97056 ; 503-543-4200; email twa@ triax.com.

According to Mike Smith, President of International Wheelchair Aviators, members of their organization, some with hearing impairments, amputees, and even wheelchairbound pilots, fly regularly. With proper training and equipment in the aircraft, they are able to obtain a great deal of enjoyment from flying; they may even pursue a career in aviation. Mike Smith says, "Unfortunately, at this point we don't have scholarship resources. We recently received non-profit status, and are interested in soliciting funds for this purpose. We would like to offer scholarships worldwide." They have twenty women members in their group. For more information, email aaero.haven@bigbear.com.

The Ninety-Nines, Inc. is an international organization of licensed women pilots. Their mission is to promote world fellowship through flight; to provide networking and scholarship opportunities for women, and to preserve the unique history of women in aviation. Through their national headquarters they award five separate scholarships, awards, and grants. The 6,500+ members, grouped in hundreds of chapters located in thirtyfive countries, give additional scholarships and awards. They may be contacted by calling 800-994-1929, 405-6857969; email 99s@ninety-nines.org or go to www.ninetynines.org.

The list of donors to the scholarship funds of these and other various organizations is lengthy; most can be found on the website of AvScholars.com. http:// www.avscholars.com. Another valuable source for information is the University Aviation Association. Comprehensive information regarding student internships, jobs and scholarships is available by contacting 334-844-2434, or http://uaa.aubum.edu or email uaa@auburn.edu. Their mailing address is 3410 Skyway Dr. , Auburn , AL 36830 .

NASA's Resources for Educators provides endless listings of scholarships and opportunities for young students. Access these by going to http:// spacelink.nasa.gov. Student support is provided through information, financial support, apprenticeships, internships and research opportunities for students at all levels.

Erin Krumwiede, First Officer with HorizonAir, took advantage of what she calls "a most unique and wonderful opportunity" in the form of a scholarship from SimuFlite. She came to Dallas , Texas to train for a Cessna Citation II type rating. Erin continues: "What a great opportunity to learn to fly the Citation! It gave me a head start, an introduction to jets, and opened the door to my next position." Erin instructed at the University of North Dakota, where she is a graduate, and flew as an air service flight pilot, Part 91 flying. Erin 's original plan was to become a corporate pilot; however, the opportunity to fly for an airline won out. Perhaps the most aggressive organization to promote the scholarship program is Women in Aviation International. Through their programs, scholarships amounting to over $1,200,000 were awarded in 1997, '98, '99 and 2000. With the support of many airlines, corporations, universities and aviation-related organizations they actively recruit candidates for these generous scholarsp prizes. The combined efforts of United, Delta, Northwest, Southwest, American Airlines, and others, along with corporations like Jeppesen, SimuFlite, FedEx, UPS, make it possible to sponsor hundreds of young women in aviation training, such as: airplane maintenance, controllers, glider training, fixed and rotary wing flight training. Applications may be directed to WAI, http://www.wiai.org and click through to the scholarship page, or call WAI headquarters at (937) 839-4647.

Women in Corporate Aviation offers business aviation career scholarships through the Women in Aviation International. They recently awarded three WCA scholarships; two valued at $1,000 each, and one valued at $500. They have their sights on still larger awards next year. Applications may be processed through Women in Aviation, International. http://www.wai.org. or call (937 839-4647.

Gale's Research Directory, available at your local library, contains detailed information about aviation training scholarships. Networking among your friends, other flying students and visiting FBOs and air shows is an excellent way to gain information about aviation scholarships.

Woman Pilot magazine posts information on their website for pilots looking for training and scholarships. Simply go to http://www.womanpilot.com, and access the university directory to locate web addresses for various colleges and universities If you're putting your career on a fast track, check out some of these resources. We can't guarantee you'll go from solo to supersonic in six sessions, but we can promise you'll find generous people in the aviation community who will give you information, contacts, and encouragement.

These individuals and organizations are committed to aviation education; many of them readily mentor young students. The corporate leaders in this business agree there will be a shortage of pilots as older ones retire or "fly west." In order to restore this shortfall, a constant stream of graduate students is needed to fill the gap. Employers in the global aviation and aerospace industry are firing up their future; they're looking for excellence in the workplace, for employees skilled in a wide range of aviation technologies. Now may be the time to move from your day job to your dream job. Ramp up your search for funding, and then reach out to identify the plan that best fits you and your career objectives.