A private pilot license, the most basic type of pilot certificate, allows individuals to fly for pleasure, transportation, charity and other noncommercial purposes. Earning this license is not cheap: as of January 2011, individuals can expect to pay thousands of dollars to undergo flight training leading to a private pilot license. Fortunately, several scholarships exist to lessen the financial burden of private pilot training.
LeRoy W. Homer Jr. Foundation Scholarship
Named for the first officer of United Flight 93, one of the airplanes lost in the September 11, 2001 attacks, the LeRoy W. Homer Jr. Foundation is an organization designed to promote aviation among young people. Specifically, the foundation offers scholarships to non-college students aged 16 to 23 looking to pursue private pilot licenses. These scholarships, which vary in amount based on students' financial needs, pay for the cost of private pilot training at a fixed-base operator (FBO) or private flight school. Students can apply online at the foundation's website. The foundation has a scholarship application deadline of January 31.
Colorado Future Woman Pilot Scholarship
The Colorado chapter of the Ninety-Nines, an organization of female pilots, offers a $1,000 scholarship (as of January 2011) for private pilot training in the state of Colorado. In addition to the financial award, the winning applicant will also receive a one-year membership to the Ninety-Nines. To be eligible for this grant, an applicant must be female, reside in the state of Colorado, hold a student pilot certificate and have completed her first solo flight. Additionally, she must have at least 10 hours of flight time.
Captain Michael King Smith Private Pilot Scholarship
The Evergreen Aviation Museum in McMinnville, Oregon presents the Captain Michael King Smith Private Pilot Scholarship to two Yamhill County, Oregon high school juniors or seniors between the ages of 16 and 18 looking to obtain private pilot certificates. Recipients can use the grant, which amounts to $2,500 as of January 2011, for flight training, ground school and the required FAA written and practical tests. As of January 2011, the scholarship application deadline is May 13.
Students should consider several factors when applying for a private pilot scholarship. First, many foundations and organization, such as the Evergreen Aviation Museum, require applicants to put together an application package, including a resume and a short essay. Students should proofread their application packages before sending them for consideration. Additionally, some of the aforementioned scholarships will not cover the entire cost of private pilot training. Individuals should consider obtaining other funding sources, such as loans, to supplement scholarship money.