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Local Rugrats Get Expo Tickets

Faithful STEM Students Attend Yearly Vertical Flight Show as Part of VAI Sponsorship

Heli-Expo 2024 closed out with a handful of tickets handed out to lucky high schoolers, granting STEM kids from nearby Canyon, Corona, and the Bonita Unified School Districts a free trip to the exhibition before the week ended.

The tickets were sponsored by the Vertical Association International, nee HAI, and the Jeff Pino Foundation. The foundation sponsors a number of scholarships intended to foster the next generation of pilots, like a $10,000 scholarship for those seeking a Private Pilot License, Aviation Maintenance Tech, or aerospace degree.

“Attending Heli-Expo is a transformative experience for these students, offering them a chance to engage with industry leaders, speak directly to OEMs and their suppliers, and gain valuable insights into the rotorcraft industry,” said Greg Brown, VAI director of education and training services. “This experience goes beyond classrooms and textbooks, providing them with hands-on encounters with the latest innovations, technologies, and industry experts.”

The HAI/VAI continues to offer a number of scholarships to members and applicants, with a handful granting a ticket to entry-level flight operations for wet-behind-the-ears student pilots. One offers $5,000 towards the cost of obtaining a commercial helo rating, which similarly includes a full registration to Heli-Expo. 

“The HAI scholarship is giving me an opportunity to focus on my flight training and achieve my target. Winning the scholarship boosts my confidence and inspires me to wake up every day and work on my goal of obtaining a CHPL,” said Komal Rahane, a previous CHPL scholarship winner. Such sentiments are common, with Diana Sterns, a WAI AMT scholarship pick echoing her feelings. "Realizing there’s this kind of support for female mechanics and female pilots is just amazing.”

FMI: www.pinofoundation.org


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