Aspen Flight Academy (AFA), a nonprofit organization and flight-training school that provides high school students the opportunity to become pilots, hosted its annual fundraiser at the Atlantic Aviation FBO at Aspen-Pitkin County Airport in Colorado. The October 1 event raised thousands of dollars for AFA’s “Every Student Flies” initiative.
Founded in 2014, AFA has partnered with the Aspen School District since 2019 on a program that gives every student the opportunity to receive one hour of flight instruction and learn about aviation careers. About 40 percent of the students in the program are female. AFA, which stakes its claim as the first carbon-neutral flight school in the country, provides both classroom and flight training to help students achieve their pilot’s license.
“There has never been a better time to become a professional pilot, whether flying for the airlines or business aviation,” said AFA chairman Mike Pearce. “There is a huge need now and in the future for professional pilots. The industry is responding to workforce needs and the Aspen Flight Academy is helping provide future aviation pilots and leaders.”
The fundraiser on October 1 showcased AFA’s technology and flight-training capabilities with festivities including live music, airplane displays and rides, and food. Industry representatives, academy students, and instructors were on hand to discuss the opportunities.
“Our program keeps growing and we could not be so successful without the support of all of our sponsors and the Aspen community,” Pearce said.
Atlantic Aviation is among the sponsors in the effort, providing complimentary fuel for the participating flights. In addition, the FBO announced a $100,000 scholarship program for five students to obtain their private pilot certification.
“We’re very proud to partner with Aspen Flight Academy to help grow the next generation of aviators,” said Atlantic Aviation Aspen FBO manager Jonathan Jones.
In addition, Englewood, Colorado-based charter provider Mayo Aviation announced the establishment of a Gwendolyn O. Mayo Memorial Scholarship at the event, with plans to award a $20,000 university scholarship (distributed over four years) to a student in the program to pursue a career in professional aviation. The recipient will have the opportunity to participate in the Mayo Aviation pilot development program to gain turbine time.
Other sponsors included Alpine Bank, ANB Bank, Avialex Law Group, Berlinger, Bose, Bubba Air, Diamond Aircraft, EKS Events, Holton Capital Group, Storm Help Pro, Michelin, MT Propeller, NetJets, and The Duck Company.