What is a ‘Young Eagle’?
Right now, there are about 350 of them, in 17 aero clubs around New Zealand. Most are between 14 and 18 years of age and they’re made of tough stuff. Many of them work multiple jobs, often at minimum wage, to fund their flying lessons, while also studying at secondary school or university. And they frequently go without many of the things that teens love to do or possess, in order to fly.
To help them along, a clutch of organisations provide scholarships to help with the cost of flying lessons. The CAA, Crombie Lockwood, Airways, and Aspeq all chip in for about five scholarships in the name of Ross Macpherson, an aviation enthusiast who provided the first Young Eagles scholarships, not long after the programme was imported from the United States to New Zealand.
Nelson Aviation College provides a scholarship in memory of one of its instructors, Kirk Dakers, to help a Young Eagle achieve their first solo. Waypoints Aviation funds a third scholarship to help a Young Eagle achieve their private pilot licence.
Here, Vector Online chats to the winners of this year’s scholarships.
For more information on the Young Eagles programme, go to flyingnz.co.nz(external link)