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AOPA Flight Training Scholarships are Now Available for 2020

Upper Limit is excited to spread the word that AOPA has over 100 scholarships available for student pilots and pilots to start or enhance their flying career!

Finding ways to finance flight training can be challenging, and one great resource is scholarships. In 2019, AOPA awarded more than 123 scholarships worth more than $1 million dollars.

And now, AOPA Flight Training Scholarship applications are being accepted for 2020.

For details, and to apply, <CLICK HERE>

Application Deadline for Priority Consideration: March 1, 2020

Final Application Deadline: March 15, 2020

The flight training scholarships offered by AOPA fall into one of four categories:

AOPA High School Flight Training Scholarship

For: Eighty high school students, ages 15 – 18

Scholarship Value: $10,000

Recipients of this scholarship can use it, as part of the AOPA You Can Fly program, to cover direct flight training expenses in the pursuit of a sport, recreational, or private pilot certificate. Recipients will be required to complete a flight training milestone, by either soloing or earning their certificate within one year for receiving the scholarship.

AOPA Teacher Flight Training Scholarship

For: Up to twenty school high school teachers

Scholarship Value: $10,000

Recipients of this scholarship must be AOPA members, be a full-time employee of a high school or school system, and use the AOPA High School Aviation Stem Curriculum to help teach science, technology, engineering or math. Recipients can use the scholarship, as part of the AOPA You Can Fly program, to cover direct flight training expenses in the pursuit of a sport, recreational, or private pilot certificate.

AOPA Primary Flight Training Scholarship

For: Current AOPA Members over 16 by the application deadline

Scholarship Value: $2,500 – $7,500

Recipients can use the scholarship to cover training expenses in the pursuit of a sport, recreational, or private pilot certificate.

AOPA Advanced Rating Scholarship

For: Oustanding pilots with career aspirations

Scholarship Value: $3,000 – $10,000

Recipients must be AOPA members, and seeking one of the following ratings or certificates:

  • Instrument
  • Commercial
  • Certificated Flight Instructor
  • Certificated Flight Instructor-Instruments
  • Multiengine Instructor

Recipients can use the scholarship to cover training expenses in the pursuit of these ratings or certificates.

Again, for full details, and to apply, <CLICK HERE>.

Upper Limit Aviation strongly believes in building an inclusive and thriving aviation community and is proud to work with incredible organizations like AOPA to provide flight training. And though we are dedicated to helping our student pilots and pilots succeed, our dedication to pilots isn’t limited strictly to flight training; if you need any help finding, applying for or deciding which scholarships to apply for, or would like more information on how you can use your scholarship to get your certificate with Upper Limit Aviation, please call us at 801-596-7722, or email us [email protected] and we’d be thrilled to help you.

Get started with your flight training today!

If you would like more information, you can:

  • Call us at 801-596-7722

Bush Pilot Training and Mud Flying – Say Again?

Dr. Mary Ann O’Grady

Often pilots who fly small to medium-sized aircraft as a means of amassing hours to vie for positions with the airlines and cargo planes are likely to become bored with consistently flying prescribed routes and filing the same flight plans. In comparison, there is a category of pilots who enjoys the challenge of flying in adverse conditions and who does not care about earning a large salary: bush pilots. They are highly respected for their flying skills which include the ability to avoid flying by the numbers and to use unregistered airfields or no airfields at all; in essence, it requires the mastery of the “flying-by-the-seat-of-your-pants” technique. At first glance, it appears to be dangerous and disconcerting, but with the proper bush pilot training, it is neither.

The realities of becoming a bush pilot may be summed up as follows:

  • Being away from home for long periods of time.
  • Expecting to live in accommodations that range from the more traditional hotels or motels to camping out in the back of the aircraft.
  • Existing on a more modest salary.

The journey to becoming a bush pilot begins with obtaining a PPL (a private pilot’s license) and subsequently obtaining CPL (commercial pilot’s license). If as a bush pilot, you plan on ferrying passengers, an ATPL (air traffic pilot’s license) is required and this can take up to five years if it is taken on a part-time basis. The financial investment can range from $10,000.00 up to $50,000.00 depending upon how intensive the pilot’s attention is to the course as well as how cheaply an aircraft and an instructor can be retained. Passing the theoretical portion of the bush pilot training demands a significant amount of studying and writing of exams while passing the practical portion of the bush pilot training demands the ability to cope with abnormal conditions, such as removing ice from the control surfaces of the aircraft because it was frozen overnight. Flying in rural settings in Africa sometimes requires overcoming conditions generated by the indigenous wildlife, such as when the tires on the aircraft needed to be changed because the lions had chewed them up, or the pilot needed to make an extra pass to chase the elephants off the runway prior to landing.

Obviously, before a pilot can be paid for any type of flying, he or she must meet the FAA’s minimum requirements:

  • Be at least 18 years of age
  • Be able to read, write, and speak English
  • Have at least a PPL or higher pilot’s license certificate from the FAA
  • Have a minimum of 250 hours of flying experience
  • Have your logbook endorsed by a CFI (certified flight instructor) to confirm the aforementioned ratings and experience
  • Pass all practical and theoretical tests to earn a commercial pilot’s license. Most flight programs that offer commercial pilot’s training, offer a program for students to earn this type of certificate.

Some bush pilots at an airport, fueling their aircraft - Bush Pilot Training

Once the commercial pilot’s license has been obtained, there are specialized flight schools that offer bush pilot training which typically includes training to fly aircraft that are equipped with floats, skis or tundra wheels since [even unregulated] airports, landing strips, roads, and other vestiges of civilization are virtually nonexistent in the bush. These flight schools provide training in abnormal conditions, including landing on lakes, gravel bars on riverbanks, and frozen lakes during the winter months. In Alaska, it is not uncommon to travel by snowmobiles during the winter due to a lack of roads and waterways that have frozen solid.

The choice of environment in which the bush pilot chooses to fly determines what type of aircraft and type of work he or she will be flying, as well as the demands of the required courses and flying lessons, which can range from a few hours to a week. On an average, a ski plane and a glacier landing training class will take five hours at a cost of approximately $1800.00, and will include two nights of lodging. In comparison, a sea-plane refresher course will cost approximately $180.00 per hour while a bush and mountain flying course will take five hours of ground school and five hours of flight time costing approximately $1400.00 with two nights of lodging. An advanced bush pilot training course can require up to five days, including five to seven hours of ground school plus five to seven hours of flight time that covers mountain flying, river landings, and high altitude lakes. Learning to fly under such extreme conditions challenges and sharpens a pilot’s skills to enable him or her to expertly function in the remote sections of Alaska, Canada, or in other off-airport conditions. He or she will learn to take off and land under conditions that conventional pilots consider to be impossible or extremely dangerous, as well as learn precision flying which develops the ability to take off and land in very confined spaces safely and confidently (Pieterse, 2008).

In 1932, extreme conditions in Alaska once again indicated that “ingenuity is the mother of invention” when Alaskan aviators invented “mud flying” during a medical emergency. Bush pilot Jerry Jones was able to land on a glacier with skis but a lack of snow would not permit him to take off again. The local fire department lent its assistance by flooding the dirt runway at the airport with its fire hoses which transformed it into mud thereby allowing the pilot to take off. A similar situation played out in Valdez, South America in 1933 when bush pilot Bob Reeve aided in opening up access to the mining of the mineral riches in a nearby area which required landing when the snow was absent to locate the quartz deposits. Approximately two miles from Valdez, he located a tide-water area that at low tide offered a flat surface composed of fine clay silt and wet goose grass where he could land his Fairchild 51 on skis. By keeping the skis on year-round which facilitated the mudflat innovative landing, Reeve was able to encourage the Valdez boom even further. Reeve continued to fly on the mudflats in Valdez until World War II when he supported the military in Northway and the Aleutian Islands (Mondor, 2015).

Get Started With Your Flight Training Today

You can get started today by filling out our online application. If you would like more information, you can call us at (844) 435-9338, or click here to start a live chat with us.

Sources and References:

Mondor, C. (2015). “When Alaska Aviators Invented Mud Flying.” Retrieved on February 6, 2016

Pieterse, C. (2008). “How to Become a Bush Pilot.” Retrieved on February 6, 2016

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