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November 18, 2009 > Aviation scholarships for Hayward students

Aviation scholarships for Hayward students

By Simon Wong

The annual Hayward Air Rally is about to enter its 46th year as the longest-established event of its kind in North America. The skills-based navigation and flight planning competition promotes air safety. The Rally has enjoyed the support of many sponsors including the City of Hayward during its history.

In appreciation of the city's continuous support, Rally organizers have decided to endow two flying scholarships for Hayward Unified School District students, aged 12-18.

"Our idea is to 'give back' to the community that has supported our group for so long by providing EAA Air Academy scholarships for two students. Funding for the program is from our pilots' registration fees and from donor sponsors who have supported the Rally in past years," explained Gary Waldeck, Deputy Chair, Hayward Air Rally.

The EAA (Experimental Aircraft Association) was founded as a flying club in the early 1950s by aviator Paul Poberezny. He and his fellow enthusiasts flew modified or built-from-scratch planes that they had to identify as EXPERIMENTAL, hence the name of the club. Today, the EAA is an international organization with more than 1,000 chapters and 160,000 members worldwide.

One of the many EAA youth programs that nurture personal development and interest in aviation is the Air Academy. It is a week-long summer camp in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, where EAA is based. Camps are organized by age groups. Those fortunate enough to attend immerse themselves in aviation and are taught by first-rate instructors.

The week's activities and flight simulations are rounded off with a flight in a real airplane. Once airborne, students will be allowed to take the controls under the guidance of one of EAA's pilots but will not be permitted to take off or land the aircraft.

The Air Academy camps are not free. This is where Hayward Air Rally, Inc., the non-profit that promotes the Rally, makes a difference. Assistance, in the form of the scholarships, will enable Hayward students to attend the Air Academy starting in 2010.

Talks with the school district are in progress to define the selection process and inform the students of this opportunity. Procedures are expected to be in place by mid-December and implemented by schools in January 2010.

"Our goal is to have received all applications by March/early April when we shall identify the lucky selectees for the 2010 EAA Air Academy scholarships," stated Waldeck.

"So many private pilots must wait until adulthood before taking to the air for the first time. My father served in the Air Force and we lived near the base but there was no opportunity for kids to take to the skies. Air Academy is perfect for a young person interested in aviation to experience the subject first-hand and fly," concluded Paul Buenrosto, Publicity Lead, Hayward Air Rally.

For information about the Hayward Air Rally and sponsorship opportunities, visit www.HwdAirRally.org or email sponsors@HwdAirRally.org

For information about the EAA organization, visit www.eaa.org

For information about the EAA Air Academy, visit www.eaa.org/airacademy/ and www.youngeagles.org/programs/airacademy/

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