David Graham of Rock Hill, S.C., will collect $2,000 and a $500 U.S. savings bond as the winner of the 2006 Avfuel Avtrip scholarship, awarded each year to help a deserving individual pay for his or her education in the aviation field.
Graham’s passion for aviation became apparent early in his career as a pilot, as he tried to gain flight time anyway he could, from giving flying lessons to ferrying airplanes purchased by his employer. He recalled a flight in a King Air C90B when he offered the left seat to a student pilot to help him gain additional flight time.
“The enthusiasm he showed took me back to the beginning of my aviation career,” said Graham. “I told him, ‘Remember this day and someday when it is your turn you can give back to the aviation industry.’”
Now, Graham hopes to earn a seaplane rating, a goal his Avtrip scholarship money will help him reach. He also wants to establish a “Mini Aviation Dream Award” with the owners of Rock Hill Aviation for two fellow pilots so they too can obtain a seaplane rating.
Membership in the Avtrip program (Avfuel’s frequent refueling program) continues to grow with the number of savings bonds awarded. Avfuel expects to award $3.3 million in bonds by the end of the year, an increase of $750,000 over last year. Meanwhile, Avtrip membership has reached an all-time high of 38,000.
Participation in the program costs nothing. Pilots earn points toward savings bonds each time they refuel at participating Avfuel dealers across the country. Members receive updated Jeppesen materials that list the dealer locations and include a newsletter that keeps them informed about upcoming events and bonus point opportunities.
When pilots refuel at participating Avtrip dealers, they receive two points for every gallon of fuel they take on board. Every time their account reaches 5,000 points, they receive a $50 bond. While helping pilots invest in their future, Avtrip dealers also benefit from the repeat business the program encourages.
Here in Orlando, Avfuel will award more that $35,000 in bonds during the convention. Pilots who participate in Avfuel’s “Avdeal or No Deal” promotion at Avfuel’s booth (No. 2023) get a chance to win up to a $5,000 bond.
Modeled after the nationally televised show “Deal or No Deal” on NBC, the game lets participants walk away with 2,500 Avtrip points, which amount to a $25 bond–the Avdeal–or they can turn it down and enter their vouchers for a chance to win the mystery amount in one of six suitcases. The suitcases hold contents worth $50, $100, $500, $1,000, $2,500 or $5,000 in U.S. savings bonds. Only pilots who participate in the Avtrip program can play and they must apply for the promotion at the Avfuel booth.