Two Amazing Women Are The Latest To Follow Their Dreams -- In Memory Of Vicki
By Jim Campbell, ANN CEO/Editor-In-Chief
Nearly three years after the worst event in my life, the memory of an amazing lady is as strong as ever. As such, that memory drives me to make sure that the things that she loved and the example of her life be remembered as long as I can help that happen.
I have the great honor to announce that two exceptional fliers, with an indisputable love for aviation, have been awarded the 2012 scholarships we have established in Vicki's honor and with the help and assistance of Women in Aviation, International. And like last year, despite the fact this is a 'memorial' effort, I continue to find the process and the outcomes to be rich, rewarding, and so very worthwhile. And to be honest, it is empowering, in so very many ways, to see the passion and excitement that this undertaking inspires in such exceptional people.
Citabria pilot, Barbara Park, of Carlton, Oregon (pictured below), has been selected for one of two awards under this program. Barbara is a single Mom, active in her IAC, EAA and 99s Chapter, and working towards becoming an IAC Aerobatic judge.
The owner of Cirrus Aviation, Robbie Sturm, called Barbara "an asset to aviation and the community here at McMinnville Municipal Airport." Flight Instructor Lee Brochers applauded her work in achieving her taildragger endorsement and her intention to pursue a Commercial ticket as well as a CFI. In my conversation with Barbara, I encountered someone to whom aviation is an empowering mechanism in her life with the potential to be able to sustain others through her passion for flight. It's people like Barbara that tell me that the aviation world is one worth saving... and with her as a part of it, one that is immeasurably improved by her presence. Remember her name... you're going to hear it in the future. Barbara is one of the folks we need in order to rebuild this community and ensure its future.
Another scholarship has been awarded to Chelsea Abingdon Welch, currently working out of Southern California. Chelsea is yet another of those folks that totally 'wow' me. I've actually known Chelsea for a while and watched her build a solid little business out of Abingdon Watches (aviation time-pieces for aviatrixes worldwide), as well as build the requisite experience to pursue more of aviation as a Pilot. Justin Malvin, a friend and colleague, tells me that, "I challenge anyone to find a more worthy applicant to any scholarship pursuant to nurturing a love of flying, which she carries always within her heart." In Chelsea's application, she opined something that I believe quite strongly, "Aerobatic training should be a requirement in everyone's flight training. I think it is irresponsible to not include aerobatics." With over 1000 hours in her logbooks, Chelsea has already earned her CFI-A, worked as an International Ferry Pilot, and I've personally seen her at work as an 'aero-evangelist" to great
effect -- and I gotta tell you, you'd have to be one hard-hearted jerk to not see how much passion and intensity she brings to the aviation world.
Choosing Chelsea for this year's awards was a slam-dunk (so was Barbara, for that matter... I think she impressed me with her merits in less than five minutes)... and, like Barbara, I wish we could offer far more than we do right now in terms of assistance. Hopefully though, as Barbara and Chelsea earn their aerobatic stripes and as last year's winners Christy Garvin, and Kelly Hoffman, make there way through the aeronautical world, the investment we've made in helping them, in this small way, to pursue their dreams will enrich the aviation world in countless ways.
The scholarship program was established in memory of US Aerobatic Team Pilot and IAC President Vicki Cruse. ANN has dedicated (and will continue to do so... and more) two $1000 scholarships for the purposes of allowing a Private Pilot to undertake basic aerobatic or unusual attitude flight training (or to further training for skills already undertaken in that flight training regimen).
Vicki's own first aerobatic experiences opened up a whole new world of aviation to her and allowed to seek extraordinary adventures and achievements that culminated in her becoming one of the most respected and accomplished pilots in the sport aviation community.
The specifics required that selected candidates must hold a Private Pilot certificate and valid third class medical certificate and be a US citizen. Interested applicants were requested to submit a resume covering their educational, employment and flight history as well as a short written statement (500 words or less) outlining how they would employ aerobatic or unusual attitude training to further their goals in aviation and the role this training may play in their lives. The recipients were chosen based on their background, dedication to aviation, and the goals they espoused for this training. Final candidates were also interviewed (by phone) prior to the final decision.
Funds will be paid directly to each winner's flight school and must be used within one year of the award. ANN has offered to assist each winner with the selection of a flight school and training program, at their request, and this year, we're hoping to send some of our Aero-TV folks to spend time with one (or both) of them, as they use the scholarship, to show the world what they are accomplishing. Stay tuned...