brought to you by Chapter 461

The application window for the EAA Chapter 461 Ray Aviation Scholarship is closed.

EAA Ray Aviation Scholarship 2024

This scholarship was funded by the Ray Foundation, and is administered by EAA to scholars who have interest in aviation and eager to get a pilot license.

Nation-wide completion rate in flight training is 20%
Completion rate among Ray scholars is 80%

Program benefits

This scholarship provides funds up to

  • $11,000 for Private Pilot
  • $8,250 for Sport Pilot
  • $5,500 for Glider Pilot

Additional bonus:

  • Ray Scholars have an opportunity to receive a free noise-cancelling Lightspeed Zulu 3 headset
  • All Ray Scholars up till the age of 21 receive free weekly Oshkosh AirVenture tickets

Applicant requirements:

  • Age 16 to 19 if applying for a private pilot or sport pilot, at the time of applying
  • Age 15 to 19 if applying for a glider pilot, at the time of applying
  • Must have a medical certificate if applying for private pilot
    (scroll down to Frequently Asked Questions for instructions how to obtain a medical)
  • NOTE: kids turning 16 before the end of October 2024 (or turning 15 before the end of October 2024 if applying for glider pilot) are welcome to apply as well.

Additional bonus:

  • If you already have chosen a school or instructor
  • If you have a student pilot certificate
  • Volunteered/participated in EAA Chapter 461 activities such as Hangar Nights, Young Eagles

Scholar commitment:

Our Ray Scholarship coordinator will guide you through the process, but you must be committed to:

  • Obtain the student pilot certificate
  • Begin training within 60 days of award acceptance
  • Complete training in 12 months
  • Cover the rest of the training cost if it exceeds the scholarship amount
  • Monthly progress check with Chapter 461 Ray Scholarship Coordinator
  • Monthly submission to the chapter newsletter
  • Minimum of two hours of volunteering at the Chapter 461
Training Milestones:
  • First fund installment (40%) is issued upon award approval (this is the start date)
  • First solo flight is due by 3 months after the start date
    Second fund installment (40%) will be issued after the Solo Report is submitted
  • Written Exam is due by 6 months after the start date
    Final fund installment (20%) is issued after the Written Exam Report is submitted
  • Checkride is due by 12 months after the start date

How to apply

  1. Fill out the application form. Download the form here:
    EAA 461 Ray Scholarship 2024 Application Form
  2. Obtain one or two letters of recommendation
    • they must come from an adult who has known you for a minimum of one year, cannot be a family member. A teacher, coach, group leader, or work supervisor are possible considerations. Choose someone who will speak to your character.
    • the letters of recommendation should reflect:
      • Recommender’s relation to you and its length
      • Your commitment to achieving a goal, leadership, or work ethic
      • Why you would be the best candidate to earn this scholarship
      • Recommender’s contact information
  3. Write an essay answering at least one of the given questions:
    • What are you passionate about in Aviation? What path do you want to pursue?
    • Tell us about something that you struggled with. What have you learned from your struggle and how did you overcome it?
    • What are your long term goals? What steps have you made so far to achieve them?
    • Why do you think you should be selected for the Ray Aviation Scholarship?
  4. Email the following to [email protected]
    • filled application form
    • essay (please send as a PDF file)
    • letters of recommendation (please send as PDF files)
    • copy of your medical (if applying for the private pilot)

The deadline to submit your application is Sunday April 7th 2024, 11:59 pm.

Frequently Asked Questions

When do I need to obtain a medical certificate and student pilot certificate? 

We don’t require you to have a student pilot certificate at the time of applying. We will help you submit an application for it.
But we do require that you already have obtained a medical certificate if you are applying for a private pilot scholarship.
The cost of medical cannot be covered by this scholarship.

How can I get a medical certificate?
  • Click on “Search for an Aviation Medical Examiner (AME)”
  • Designee Type: select “AME”
  • Select “Location Search” to find one in your area or “Designee” if you already know one!
    • Select Country and State  
    • Designation type can be left empty 
  • Choose an AME and call to set up an appointment 
    • There are often forms to fill out prior 
  • Fees range from $100-$150 typically 
  • Reach out to the Ray Scholarship coordinator ([email protected]) if you have any questions
What type of medical should I get?

A third-class medical is all that is required for the private pilot license.
First-class medical is a requirement for airline pilots. If you are considering a career in airlines, it is a good idea to get a first-class medical. It is better to learn now of any conditions which would prevent you from obtaining a first class medical.
All medical levels (first, second, and third) are valid for five years for people under the age of 40.

What can scholarship funds be used for?

Any costs directly associated with flight training, including:

  • Aircraft rental
  • Instructor fees
  • Fuel
  • Flight school or flying club dues
  • Non-owner insurance
  • Written exam and checkride fees
  • NOTE: medical is not covered by this scholarship, because you are expected to have a medical at the time of applying
Which flight school can the scholar choose?

The scholar is free to pick any school at any airport. The scholar can receive flight training under either Part 61 or Part 141 flight school.
Our chapter can provide advice and guidance on finding the school that would be a best fit. You can check the list of nearby schools here

What is the approximate cost of flight training for a private pilot license?

Here is the breakdown of (average) cost:

  • Medical certificate: $125
  • Airplane rent: $160 per hour
  • Instructor: $60-70 per hour
  • Ground school: $300
  • FAA private pilot written test: $175
  • FAA checkride: $650
  • Supplies:
    • headset: start from $200. Noise cancelling $800
    • logbook, fuel drainer, e6B, flight bag, charts, checklists, flashlight (~$100 for all)
  • Books:
    • FAR/AIM $20
    • FAA Pilot Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge $20
    • Airplane Flying Handbook $20
  • iPad (recommended but not required)
    • Foreflight: starts from $120/year

The total cost of flight training depends on how many hours it will take you to get ready for the final checkride. This depends on how many times a week you fly and how much time you put into studying and preparing for the lessons. Here is a free introductory course explaining what it takes to become a pilot and how to save money: Guide to becoming a Pilot
Total estimated costs range from $10,000 to $18,000. It could be more, could be less, it all depends on you!
You can also check the presentation on our Learn to FLY page.

Any other questions?

Don’t hesitate to send us an email: [email protected]