Flight Training Scholarships

Now is a great time to enter the field of aviation as career opportunities expand across the industry, especially for pilots.   Hiller Aviation Museum offers the chance for highly motivated individuals between the ages of 16-18 to obtain a $15,000 scholarship to apply toward flight training costs culminating in obtaining the FAA Private Pilot Certificate.   The program is funded by Ray Foundation and other contributors.

Basic Information

Flight training is well within the abilities of most people to undertake but the dropout rate is high because of the intensive motivation and time commitment required to complete the training in a reasonable time frame.

This scholarship program is neither “turn key” nor intended for individuals with an unresearched, casual interest in flight.  Demand for flight training financial assistance is high and the successful applicant will have already developed flight ambitions.  They will have done their own homework and be personally knowledgeable about the process and practices for obtaining their pilot’s license and will likely have already taken their first steps toward that goal.

This program is not a “full ride” coverage of all possible flight training expenses.  The purpose of the scholarship is to provide significant financial assistance to cover the majority of expenses for a pilot trainee who is focused and efficient in accomplishing the milestones of flight training.  However, scholarship recipients must be able to incur some costs prior to the release of scholarship funds (as described below), and they will likely need to cover additional costs beyond the scholarship amount.  Most importantly, scholarship funds cannot be released until the FAA Airman’s Private Pilot Written Exam is completed, so this key task must be accomplished early.

Flight training is expensive in the Bay Area but costs can be minimized depending on how diligently trainees manage their time, study for and complete their FAA Written Exam, prepare ahead of time for each flight lesson and apply effort and concentration to more quickly master the required flying skills with fewer flight hours.

Flight training is probably the most challenging and demanding task a young person can undertake but is one of the most satisfying and rewarding of their lives!

Application Process

Online forms are due by March 31, 2024.  Provide all of the information required.

Also required in the application process:

  • A brief 200-word essay on the subject of “Why I Wish to Pursue Flight Training” is also required.
  • Signed Liability Waiver. Form can be signed within application, uploaded to application, or emailed.
  • Unofficial Transcript from latest academic institution. (Can be signed within application, uploaded to application, or emailed.)

Awarding of Funds

Scholarship funds will be released only after the full completion of the listed Program Requirements.  Scholarship funds up to $15,000 will be made directly to the flight school where training is conducted, or other arrangements as required by circumstances, to cover flight training expenses, only.  Awardees must submit copies of tuition receipts and/or invoices from the flight school with which they are enrolled to the scholarship program administrator.   Expenses beyond $15,000 must be covered by the Awardee.

Program Requirements

Applicant must be between 16-18 years old as of May 3rd, 2024. Applicant must live in the San Francisco Bay Area (limited to these 11 counties:  San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Sonoma, Napa, Solano, San Benito). Flight training must be conducted at a Part 61 or Part 141 flight school in the San Francisco Bay Area. The awarding of a scholarship is considered preliminary.  Prior to the activation of scholarship funds, the applicant must perform the following important tasks:

  • Participate in a 1-hour evening orientation session at Hiller Aviation Museum.
  • Schedule and conduct a discovery flight with a local flight school, if not done already.
  • Successfully complete and obtain an FAA 3rd Class Medical exam.
  • Visit and select a flight school for training.
  • Submit a Flight Training plan, including an approximate timeline for completion of goals such as solo, first cross country, etc. Flight training must be completed within 9 months after the awarding of the scholarship.
  • Pass the FAA Airman’s Private Pilot Written Exam.

Scholarship recipients will be assigned a liaison for administering the scholarship.   Recipients must regularly communicate progress reports to their assigned liaison. Awardees will be guests at the Hiller Aviation Museum’s annual Benefit Gala, typically held in the fall.

Get Excited!

This is the real deal!   If you have already formulated a vision for yourself as a pilot, and are seriously committed to following the aviation path, this program can help make your dreams of flight come true.  

Flight Training Scholarship
2024 Dates and Deadlines

Applications open February 2, 2024

Application deadline March 31, 2024

Finalist interviews in April, 2024

Awards announced May 6, 2024

Private Pilot certificate obtained by April, 2025

Flight Training Scholarship
2024 Recipients

Polina Efimova, Moraga

Mizan Rupan-Tompkins, Antioch

Congratulations to our 2024 recipients

Thank you to all applicants

Flight Training Scholarship
2023 Recipients

Evelyn Tale, Hayward (left)

Marion Fowler, Santa Cruz (right)