|Matthew Lynes, Chapter 54's first Ray Scholarship recipient, celebrates a successful private pilot checkride with his instructor in September 2023.
The EAA Ray Aviation Scholarship program continues to make a difference for young people pursuing aviation dreams, as 400 scholarship recipients have now completed flight training.
The scholarship program is funded by the Ray Foundation, managed by EAA, and administered through the EAA chapter network. Through the program, EAA is able to provide deserving youths up to $11,000 to help cover flight training expenses. EAA received $1.8 million from the Ray Foundation for 2023.
Since the program’s introduction in 2019, more than 730 scholarships have been provided to young people with a passion for aviation. The current pilot certificate completion rate for Ray scholars is 81 percent, with approximately 240 more scholars currently in-flight training.
“Many aspiring pilots fall short of their goal due to the cost of flight training, so EAA working with the Ray Foundation helps relieve some of the financial pressure and make the goal of becoming a pilot even more accessible for future generations,” said Rick Larsen, EAA’s vice president of communities and member programming. “The high completion rate of our scholars demonstrates how this program has a direct impact on growing the aviation community.”
There are EAA chapter and scholar eligibility requirements for the Ray Aviation Scholarship that indicate a commitment to success. Once a chapter is approved for the program, it nominates the chosen scholar for EAA’s final review. Many chapters are granted the full $11,000 for their selected scholar, but some chapters have committed 25 percent of the award to secure their slot in the program. All EAA and divisional chapters in the United States and Canada are eligible for a grant up to $11,000.
The Lightspeed Aviation Foundation and EAA award a Zulu 3 headset to each scholar after they complete a solo flight or, if they soloed pre-scholarship, after passing the written exam. This recognizes the scholar as they progress and ultimately complete flight training.