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Thursday, June 20, 2024

18-year-old earns pilot’s license after passing exam at Leesburg International Airport         

Eighteen-year-old Rosie Rivera, a member of the Experimental Aircraft Association Chapter 534, earned her Private Pilot’s License and can now enjoy the wonders of personal flight on her own.

After completing her oral exam and her hour-long check ride with a Federal Aviation Administration examiner (always a tense time for new pilots)  they headed for home. Upon landing back at the Leesburg International Airport, she was informed that she completed the test successfully and was granted her Private Pilot’s License.

Rosie Rivera has earned her Private Pilots license
Rosie Rivera has earned her Private Pilot’s license.

The Ray Aviation Scholarship provides $ 10,000 for the cost of dual flight instruction. Local EAA chapters apply to their National EAA organization in Oshkosh, Wisconsin to be given the privilege of awarding this scholarship each year. The Ray Scholarship fund awards one hundred of these scholarships each year to be given to a deserving young person through selected EAA chapters. Rosie’s award represents the third consecutive year Chapter 534 has been able to award this scholarship.

Just recently Chapter 534 was given the opportunity by the national organization to award a fourth $10,000 scholarship. At this point, the new candidate has not been selected.

On Saturday, EAA Chapter 534 held a lunch in their hangar at the Leesburg Airport to celebrate Rosie’s accomplishment. More than 40 of the chapter’s members turned out.

At noon all building activity came to a halt, the recently sold Zenith 701 was pushed out of the hangar, tables and chairs were set up, the grill was hauled outside and a barbeque commenced.

Before everybody sat down, Gretchen Crecelius, Scholarship Coordinator, introduced the other Ray Scholarship winners who are now licensed pilots, Mateo Colmenero and William McCarthy. She mentioned that they were both now working on their instrument ratings.

She then introduced Rosie to the crowd and talked about the scholarship program and how it will affect the future of these young people.

This was followed by a speech from Rosie who expressed her thanks to the chapter members who worked with her and encouraged her to pursue her dream of flight. Her ultimate goal is to become a missionary pilot. She will soon begin instruction for a seaplane rating, for which she has also won a scholarship from The Seaplane Pilots Association, and begin studying for her instrument rating.

She has spent three years in the chapter’s aviation youth program, Squadron 534, learning how to build and repair airplanes, practicing basic flying skills on one of the two simulators, and participating in ground school classes with other squadron members. She has had many opportunities to fly with Young Eagles and adult members of the chapter as well as others.

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