Ever since Orville and Wilbur Wright scratched the skies of Kitty Hawk, North Carolina in 1903, mankind has continued to reach for the stars through careers in aviation. From the first gliders to the commercial jet boom of the fifties up to today’s majestic Boeing 787 “Dreamliner,” the air industry has continued to expand and, today, flight schools and other aviation programs are as popular as ever.
According to 2015 statistics, the median pay for a commercial pilot is over $100,000 a year, and the industry continues to grow, albeit at a slower pace than other riskier careers. In the information age, where students have grown up watching videos of planes on YouTube, flying fighter jets in Call of Duty, and exploring flight simulators on Google, the career path continues to appeal to adventurers worldwide. If you’re interested in a career in aviation, here are a few scholarships to consider:
Deadline: Ask local chapter
The Tuskegee Airmen refers to the 332nd Fighter Group and the 477th Bombardment Group of the United States Air Force, both of whom fought in World War II. Widely regarded as the Jackie Robinsons of the Air Force, these black men bravely fought discrimination and Jim Crow Laws at home to serve their country abroad, eventually becoming the first African-American pilots in the Air Force. To commemorate the achievements of these brave men and their legacy of success in the face of harsh odds, the Tuskegee Airmen Scholarship Foundation, or TAISF, awards deserving students a $1,500 scholarship to pursue the study of aviation.
To be eligible, students must have at least a 3.0 GPA, demonstrate financial need, and plan to enter a field involving aeronautics or aviation. Students must submit their scholarship applications to the student’s local chapter of Tuskegee Airmen, Inc. The foundation’s website also notes that the best applicants have explored the experience of the Tuskegee airmen and how the legacy of these American heroes impacted their desire to study aviation.
Deadline: January 31 (Opens October 1)
Per their website, the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, or AIAA, is “the largest technical society dedicated to the global aerospace profession”. With roots stretching back to before the Wright Brothers launched their glider, the AIAA carries on a proud historical tradition of encouraging the youth to advance in both flight and space technology. One of the ways they go about this task is through their Undergraduate Scholarship Program, which offers a slew of awards to interested students. The scholarships depend on one’s personal interest or desired path within the aviation field. For example, the foundation provides awards designated to space transportation, digital avionics, and aerospace engineering; among others. The AIAA has doled out over 700 scholarships over the past twenty years to members of their student program, an absolute must for anyone who one day hopes to work on either side of the aviation industry.
Due to the vast disparities in awards, there is no one set of locked eligibility requirements. You can find the specifics on their website or by contacting the foundation directly.
Deadline: TBD for 2020
Given out by the National Business Aviation Association, or NBAA, the Ginocchio Scholarship is one of the most prestigious and competitive financial awards given to aviation students in the United States. According to the award’s website, the scholarship honors the late Lawrence Ginocchio, “a remarkable man whose strength of character inspired a high standard of caring in the aviation community.”
The award’s eligibility requirements focus on strength of character and moral fiber, as well as academic ability, asking that students apply who seek to use their interest in aviation to help others. Additionally, students must have at least a 3.0 GPA and be currently enrolled in an accredited aviation program that is a member of the NBAA. The top prizes? Five $4,500 scholarships, awarded to those who the Association feels will best honor the memory of Mr. Ginocchio through their commitment to both aviation and society.