The first annual Aerobatic Flight Instructor Scholarship was presented at the IAC membership gathering on Friday Aug. 3rd at Airventure. Honored with being the first recipient was Alexander Sachs of Oregon, Wisconsin. Alex is a Certified Flight Instructor currently enrolled in the University of North Dakota’s Aeronautics program and is expecting to earn his bachelors degree in May of 2014. He persues aerobatics by participating in competition aerobatics with the UND IAC Collegiate National Championship aerobatic team. Alex recently placed third in the mid-America region for the Primary Category.
"I had no idea how tough it was going to be to choose a winner for this scholarship," said Greg Koontz, administrator of the program. "I was given the completed applications, less their identities, to review. The biggest problem was most candidates just didn’t get the “instructor” side of this offering. It is not an aerobatic course, per se, that’s being awarded; it is a course to learn to teach aerobatics. Some aerobatic experience is expected. Most thought they were going to learn their first aerobatics. This eliminated about 75% of the applicants right away. The other limiting factor was the age limit of 25. We found that most young people are busy with their education and if they are in need of financial help they probably were not financially ready to be active in aerobatics at this point. The number of Certified Flight Instructors under age 25 with some aerobatic experience was smaller than expected."
The purpose of this scholarship is to offer, without prejudice, financial help to a deserving individual to promote well-trained aerobatic instructors. "I believe we did this," continued Greg, "but my desire to focus only on young up-and-coming individuals might have narrowed the field a bit too much. Reviewing the responses and comments we received this last year, we learned that there are many well qualified individuals who need help obtaining this kind of training."
"We will continue to focus on those who show an effort to pursue aerobatics and who, because of their personal situation, need financial help. Continuing forward the Greg Koontz Airshows Aerobatic Instructor Scholarship will be offered to Certified Flight Instructors of all ages. I want to encourage anyone who wanted to apply last year but was over 25 years old to put in another application this year. All applications will be considered."