Flight Training Scholarships
AOPA Flight Training Scholarship Program
Brought to you by the AOPA Foundation
The 2016 scholarship application is now available!
These scholarships are meant for student pilots that have not yet completed their FAA checkride and that do not hold a pilot certificate of any type.
The eligibility requirements, frequently asked questions and a link to the online application are below.
If you have questions about the AOPA Foundation’s flight training scholarships, please email FTscholarship@aopa.org.
For information on additional scholarship opportunities, please visit our aviation scholarships webpage.
In an effort to support outstanding student pilots, the AOPA Foundation will be awarding various scholarships, ranging from $2,500 to $12,000, in 2016.
Scholarship applications are due on Thursday, July 7, 2016, at 9:00 PM EST and winners will be announced the week of August 15-19, 2016.
A special thank you to those who have donated to the AOPA Foundation in support of the Flight Training Scholarship Program. Because of you, we are able to support passionate aviators of all ages who serve as lifelong ambassadors for general aviation.>>View the list of 2015 scholarship recipients
Want to apply for a 2016 Flight Training Scholarship? Here’s what you need to do:
Step 1: Read the eligibility requirements below.
Scholarship applicants must meet all of the following criteria:
1. Be a U.S. citizen or U.S. permanent resident.
2. Be at least 16 years of age at the time of application. There are no exceptions to this; if you will not be 16 years old by July 8, 2016 then you are not eligible to apply.
3. Hold a current FAA Student Pilot Certificate at the time of application.
- If you do not have a FAA Student Pilot Certificate, if you don’t know what a FAA Student Pilot Certificate is or if you need to know how to obtain one you should read the second question on the Frequently Asked Questions list below.
- Please note—obtaining a FAA Student Pilot Certificate can take several weeks depending on where you live and your access to a FAA Flight Standards District Office. You should begin the process well in advance of the application deadline. You cannot submit an application if you do not have a valid student pilot certificate number.
4. Be a current member of AOPA at both the time of application and when the scholarship is awarded.
- If you have a Military, Student or AV8RS membership you are eligible to apply.
- Here’s a link to sign-up for a 6-month free membership
- You need to have a membership ID and log-in credentials to apply. If you are a member but don’t know your ID or password, call Member Services for assistance (800-872-2672).
5. You cannot have completed the FAA practical test/checkride at the time of application.
- If you have taken the written exam you are eligible to apply
- If you failed a checkride you are still eligible to apply
- If you plan to take your checkride after the application deadline that is OK. We do not want to hold up your flight training progress, but at the time of application you cannot have already obtained your private pilot’s license.
Please read through the Frequently Asked Questions before emailing AOPA with a question. Most of the questions that are submitted are answered in the FAQs section below. If your question is not answered, send an email to FTscholarship@AOPA.org.
Step 2: If you meet the criteria listed above and are eligible to apply. Use the link below to access the online application.
If you have a problem logging in or a question about the application process, please see the Frequently Asked Questions section below. If your question is not answered, send an email to FTscholarship@AOPA.org.
Step 3: Submit the online application. The application deadline is 9:00 PM (EST) on Thursday, July 7, 2016.
- Late or incomplete applications will not be accepted. No exceptions can be made for missing the deadline. Paper applications cannot be accepted.
- Once you submit your application you will receive a unique link for an online recommendation form that is specific to you. Send that exact link to two individuals and ask them to complete the online recommendation form by the application deadline (9:00 PM, EASTERN, on Thursday, July 7, 2016). Send the unique link to only two individuals. The online system will not accept more than two recommendations.
- When a recommendation is submitted on your behalf you should receive an email letting you know. You can also log back-in to the application system to see if your recommendations have been submitted.
Frequently Asked Questions:
1. I am a member and I am logged in but I got an error message that says I need to log-in to see the application. What is going on?
Unfortunately, the website does that sometimes. The solution is:
1) Log out of AOPA.org
2) Close the web site
3) Close your web browser
4) Re-open your browser and go back to AOPA.org
5) Log-in to AOPA.org
6) Go to the scholarship page and try clicking on the application link again
2. I can’t log-in. What should I do?
Maybe you have the wrong log-in credentials (that is your ID and password). Call AOPA Member Services at 800-872-2672 and ask them to help you.
Also, please note that if you signed up for membership within the last 24-hours you may not be able to access the online application yet. We have found that there is a lag time of about 24-hours between joining AOPA and being able to access the scholarship application. The systems just need some time to sync up. Please try accessing the application again in a few days.
3. What is a student pilot certificate and how do I get one?
A student pilot certificate is issued by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). You can obtain a student pilot certificate from a designated pilot examiner (DPE), a FAA Flight Standards District Office (FSDO), a Certified Flight Instructor or flight school.
The easiest way to get a student pilot certificate is to visit a local flight school. To find one near you visit http://flighttraining.aopa.org/learntofly/school/flight_schools/ and ask to make an appointment to get a student pilot certificate.
To find a Flight Standards District Office or a designated pilot examiner, go to http://www.faa.gov/about/office_org/field_offices/fsdo/. Contact the office and ask to make an appointment to get a student pilot certificate. If they cannot see you or are not conveniently located near you ask them to provide contact information for the designated pilot examiners in your area.
4. I currently hold a private pilot certificate to fly gliders and I am now working toward my private pilot certificate for airplanes. Can I apply for this scholarship?
If you already hold a pilot certificate of any type (other than an FAA student pilot certificate), you are not eligible for this scholarship. Only students training for their initial pilot certificate may apply.
5. Do I have to be enrolled in a collegiate aviation program to apply?
No, there is no requirement to be enrolled in an accredited aviation program or college to apply. Additionally, you do not need to have aviation career aspirations to apply.
6. Can I print the application and mail it in?
No, paper applications cannot be accepted.
7. Can I submit more than one scholarship application?
No, you cannot submit multiple applications. You only need to submit one application to be considered.
8. If I win one of the scholarships how do I get the money? Does it go to my flight school?
If you are a scholarship recipient the funds are provided to you directly via check. You can choose to pay them to a flight training school, or if you have already paid the expense out of pocket (or on a credit card) you can opt to use the funds to reimburse yourself, or you can even earmark the funds to help you stay current or pursue an instrument rating.
9. One of the people I asked to do a recommendation for me wants to send it via email. Is that ok?
No, all recommendations need to be submitted using the online recommendation form. A link to the form is provided to you once you submit your application. The link is unique to you and attaches their recommendation to your application. Recommendations submitted in any other format will not be accepted. There will be no exceptions to this rule.
10. Which two people should I have complete the online recommendation form?
Choose two people who know you well, are familiar with your goal to earn a pilot certificate, and can share why you’ll successfully complete flight training. Consider asking your flight and/or ground school instructor, a pilot mentor, or a professional colleague to complete the recommendation form on your behalf. We do not recommend having family members complete your recommendations unless they are your CFI or serving as a flight training mentor.
11. Should I ask more than two people to submit recommendations for me?
No. The system will only accept two recommendations for each scholarship applicant. You should only ask a third person if one of the first two people you ask is unable to complete the online recommendation form by the deadline.
12. I didn’t win a scholarship last time I applied. Should I apply again?
Of course! We know there are many outstanding student pilots who would really benefit from a flight training scholarship. Please note all applications are cleared after the scholarship recipients are selected. You must submit a new application and recommendations each award cycle to ensure we’re reviewing the most current information.