Local youth earns aviation scholarship


Last updated 5/23/2023 at 4:38pm

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Timber Bionda has earned an $11,000 scholarship to help him launch his aviation dreams.

Timber Bionda of Sisters has received a unique full-scholarship opportunity for flight training, thanks to EAA Chapter 1345 of Bend and the Ray Aviation Scholarship program administered by the Experimental Aircraft Association in Oshkosh, WI.

The Ray Aviation Scholarship program provides up to $11,000 scholarships to young people who are seeking to learn to fly. The Ray Foundation has provided $1.8 million to fund the scholarship program, which seeks to improve the flight training success rate from the current industry standards of 20 percent to 80 percent for program participants. Local EAA chapters are responsible for identifying youth for the Ray Aviation Scholarship program and mentoring them through flight training. The Ray Foundation is furthering the legacy of James C. Ray, an EAA lifetime member who was dedicated to aviation and youth education.

Since its introduction in 2019, the EAA Ray Aviation Scholarship program has allowed over 350 youths to complete their flight training and receive their pilot licenses. The program has been consistently meeting and exceeding its expected 80 percent success rate each year.

Bionda will be training at Bend Aircraft based at KBDN. The scholarship is designed to support a flight student through both written and practical segments of flight training that are part of successful FAA pilot certification.

EAA chapters play a critical role in the success of the Ray Aviation Scholarship program. Chapters interested in participating are prequalified by EAA through an application process. If selected, they mentor and support the scholarship recipient throughout their flight training journey. Once selected as a Ray Aviation Scholarship participant, candidates also commit to volunteer service with the local EAA chapter.

EAA Chapter 1345 is one of 900 local chapters of the Experimental Aircraft Association, the world's largest organization for recreational flying. It meets at the Bend Builder's Assist hanger on the second Wednesday of each month at 6:30 p.m. More information on EAA Chapter 1345 is available at https://chapters.eaa.org/eaa1345.


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