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AOPA offers scholarship to learn to fly.

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To help support outstanding student pilots, the ASA Flight Training Scholarship, the Jeppesen Flight Training Scholarship, and the Richard J. Santori Memorial Scholarship, will each award $5,000 to a student pilot pursuing an FAA sport, recreational, or private pilot certificate. The recipients will be chosen based on merit, including previous accomplishments, ability to set goals, and demonstrated commitment to flight training. The scholarships will be awarded at The AOPA Aviation Summit in Palm Springs, California, October 11-13, 2012. The winners will be notified prior to Summit and do not need to be present to accept the award.


Scholarship applicants must meet all criteria listed below.

1. Be a U.S. citizen or U.S. permanent resident

2. Be at least 16 years of age

3. Hold a current FAA Student Pilot Certificate at the time of application

4. Be a current and paid member* of AOPA at both the time of application and when the scholarship is awarded

5. Not have completed the FAA practical test/checkride at the time of application

* The term “member” includes both voting membership and non-voting membership in AOPA.

Application deadline: Friday, August 24, 2012 (11:59 p.m. EDT).
Application Process

1. Complete the online application. Paper applications will not be accepted.

2. After completing the online application, you will receive a unique link for an online recommendation form that is specific to you. Send that exact link to two individuals and ask them to complete the online recommendation form by the application deadline (Friday, August 24, 2012 [11:59 p.m. EST]). Send the unique link to only two individuals. The online system will not accept more than two recommendations.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q. Can I submit more than one scholarship application?

A. No, you cannot submit multiple applications. You only need to submit one application to be considered.

Q. What is a student pilot certificate and how do I get one?

A. A student pilot certificate is issued by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). You can obtain a student pilot certificate from an aviation medical examiner (AME), a designated pilot examiner (DPE), or an FAA Flight Standards District Office (FSDO). Visiting an AME is the most common method for obtaining a student pilot certificate, especially for those seeking a private or recreational pilot certificate. In these cases, the AME will issue your student pilot certificate as part of the aviation medical exam. If you’re pursuing a sport pilot certificate and won’t be getting an aviation medical exam, your flight school or instructor can direct you to a local DPE and/or FSDO in order to get your student pilot certificate.

Q. I currently hold a private pilot certificate to fly gliders and I am now working toward my private pilot certificate for airplanes. Can I apply for this scholarship?

A. If you already hold a pilot certificate of any type (other than an FAA student pilot certificate), you are not eligible for this scholarship. Only students training for their initial pilot certificate may apply.

Q. Do I have to be enrolled in a collegiate aviation program to apply?

A. No, there is no requirement to be enrolled in an accredited aviation program or college to apply. Additionally, you do not need to have aviation career aspirations to apply.

Q. Do I have to attend AOPA Aviation Summit or Sun 'n Fun to receive a scholarship?

A. No, you don’t need to attend AOPA Aviation Summit or Sun 'n Fun to receive a scholarship. If the winners are not in attendance, their names will still be announced during the event.

Q. Which two people should I have complete the online recommendation form?

A. Choose two people who know you well, are familiar with your goal to earn a pilot certificate, and can share why you’ll successfully complete flight training. Consider asking your flight and/or ground school instructor, a pilot mentor, or a professional colleague to complete the recommendation form on your behalf.

Q. Should I ask more than two people to submit recommendations for me?

A. The system will only accept two recommendations for each scholarship applicant. You should only ask a third person if one of the first two people you ask is unable to complete the online recommendation form by the deadline.

Q. I didn’t win a scholarship last time I applied. Should I apply again?

A. Of course! We know there are many outstanding student pilots who would really benefit from a flight training scholarship. Please note all applications are cleared after the scholarship recipients are selected. You must submit a new application and recommendations each award cycle to ensure we’re reviewing the most current information.

Q. I have a question that isn’t addressed above. How can I contact AOPA?

A. For scholarship-related questions, please email For other inquiries, visit the Contact Us Web page.