EAA 690 Veterans November 2018
Our first pancake breakfast of 2020 was certainly well attended. Duane Huff received his Wright Brothers Master Pilot Award and John Morgan kicked off his presidency with a Town Hall Meeting to explain his goals. For those wanting the meeting presentation or who were not able to attend, here is the Jan 2020 Town Hall Meeting presentation.
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Maria Hernandez of Peachtree Corners, GA has received a unique full-scholarship opportunity for flight training, thanks to EAA Chapter 690 of Lawrenceville and the Ray Aviation Scholarship program administered by the Experimental Aircraft Association in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. The Ray Aviation Scholars program provides up to $10,000 scholarships to young people who are seeking to learn to fly. The Ray Foundation has provided $1 million to fund the scholarship program, which seeks to improve the flight training success rate from the current industry standards of 20 percent to 80 percent for program participants. Local EAA chapters are responsible for identifying youth for the Ray Aviation Scholarship program and mentoring them through flight training. The Ray Foundation is furthering the legacy of James Ray, an EAA lifetime member who was dedicated to aviation and youth education. The initiative is designed to help meet the tremendous future demand for pilots and associated aviation careers.
Maria will be training at Aero Ventures Flying Club, based at Gwinnett County Airport, in Lawrenceville, GA. The scholarship is designed to support a flight student through both written and practical segments of flight training that are part of successful FAA pilot certification. EAA chapters play a critical role in the success of the Ray Aviation Scholarship program. Chapters interested in participating are prequalified by EAA through an application process. If selected, they mentor and support the scholarship recipient throughout their flight training journey. Once selected as a Ray Aviation Scholarship Fund participant, candidates also commit to volunteer service with the local EAA chapter.
About the Ray Scholar, Maria Hernandez Maria Kaleigh Hernandez is 17 years old and attends Paul Duke STEM High School, Norcross, GA, with plans to graduate with the class of 2020. Upon graduation, Hernandez plans to attend a university where she can be a part of a dedicated aviation program. Maria’s interest in aviation began as a child, when she took flights to visit her grandparents in Mexico. Her father encouraged her to observe the operation of the aircraft. She watched how the wing worked out of her window and noticed more as the years passed. Another influential person in Hernandez’s life was a close friend, Dr. Jerome “Jerry” Farmer, a Systems Engineer at Northrop Grumman. When Maria was five years old, Jerry sat down with her to design a flying broom, just because she wanted to have a functioning witch’s costume! Jerry ingrained in Hernandez the same passion and curiosity as he had for aviation. Twelve years later, this interest has evolved into her dream. As a youth member of EAA, Hernandez spends weekends contributing to the EAA Chapter 690 Youth Build Program, assisting with the building of a single place, aluminum aircraft, the BD6. She is also studying for her FAA Written Exam by attending ground school classes also conducted by EAA Chapter 690 in Lawrenceville, GA. After joining EAA, Hernandez quickly joined other aviation affiliated organizations including Women in Aviation and Aircraft Owners and Pilot Association (AOPA) to become more involved in all things related to flying. Without her family and Jerry’s support, she wouldn’t have been able to reach her aviation goals. Her most recent accomplishment was becoming one of the 2019 EAA Ray Scholarship recipients with a grant for $10000.00 toward flight training. With this financial prize, Maria is actively building up flight hours with Aero-Ventures Flying Club, Gwinnett County Airport, to obtain her Private Pilot’s license.
Anh-Thu has worked relentlessly to overcome tremendous challenges since leaving behind her beloved war ravaged remote village in Tuy-Hoa, Vietnam, where she received her elementary and middle school education from a UNICEF-built school. Growing up in a village with no electricity, flying high was simply and realistically just a big dream, and dream big she did.
To many other women around her, she is the epitome of women empowerment and strength. Arriving in America at the age of 12 with no English or financial resources, she worked hard to graduate valedictorian of her high school and top 10 of her college class from Purdue University. She is currently pursuing a Ph.D. degree in Aerospace Engineering from Georgia Tech. Along the way, she has faced constant setbacks and disappointments in her personal life and academic career, but she has always been determined to move forward. After years of interrupted training, she obtained her private pilot license and in 2017 became an AOPA Distinguished Flight Instructor, having taught hundreds of pilots and earning her Airline Transport Pilot certificate.
Regardless of her many achievements, Anh-Thu’s presence at airports in 2019, surprisingly, still is a source of confusion and a huge shock to many including airport security personnel, who on many occasions, have denied her entry through the gate. On a daily basis, she constantly has to explain herself and convince people that she's a pilot. After facing so many challenges, it is now her mission and civic responsibility to raise visibility and awareness to women in aviation and to promote aerospace education for young girls. Only 6% of all pilots in the world are female, and only 7 women have successfully circumnavigated the globe.
Her life stories are inspirational and have taught many women around her to dare to dream the impossible even when things are difficult.
The September 7th program will begin at 10:00 AM and is open to all. An all you care to eat pancake (and eggs, sausage and biscuits, etc.) breakfast and/or refreshments are available beginning at 8:00 AM in the EAA Sport Aviation Center, 690 Airport Road, at Gwinnett County's Briscoe Field. The price of breakfast for adults is $7, children under 10, $3. Ample aircraft and auto parking is available.
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