By Christopher Gauger, EAA 746128, EAA Chapter Field Representative I
AirVenture is a must-see destination for pilots and aviation enthusiasts, and this includes EAA’s Ray Aviation scholars. By my count, there were at least 83 scholars who attended AirVenture this year. That number is likely higher. For these young pilots, AirVenture has much to offer. It provides opportunities to network with professionals in the aviation industry. It allows scholars to learn about the various university-level aviation programs that can advance their journeys. It helps them learn about the possible careers in aviation, such as flying commercial airliners or military aircraft, or working as an engineer or an A&P mechanic or an air traffic controller. But most importantly, AirVenture allows Ray Aviation scholars to meet their fellow scholars from other EAA chapters and form new friendships with them.
The EAA chapters staff and volunteers hosted a corn roast at the EAA Chapters Pavilion on Monday, July 24, for Ray scholars and scholarship coordinators from EAA chapters. We had more than 250 people in attendance, including 60 Ray scholars and 44 scholarship coordinators. This free event serves to bring scholars and coordinators together from the various chapters across the United States and Canada that have participated in the Ray Aviation Scholarship. It is one of those opportunities for scholars to meet each other and become friends, and for scholarship coordinators to meet each other and learn from each other’s experiences with the program.
We had a few other exciting opportunities for Ray scholars at AirVenture. On the morning of Wednesday, July 26, 16 Ray Scholars were able to receive a tour of the NASA Super Guppy aircraft on the Boeing Plaza. Despite a delayed start due to the rain that morning, the scholars were able to go inside the Super Guppy and check out its flight deck and its massive cargo bay.
Later, during the afternoon of Wednesday, a group of Ray scholars had a meet-and-greet at the EAA Learn to Fly Center with Sean D. Tucker, the legendary air show pilot who serves as co-chairman of the EAA Young Eagles program. Sean was able to share his experiences in aviation with these young pilots and provide them with good advice on flying and aerobatics.
We hope that all the Ray Aviation scholars enjoyed their time at AirVenture this year, and we look forward to seeing them return in the not-too-distant future!
To learn more about this program, visit EAA.org/RayScholars.