During Aviation Day at the Capitol on March 7, the Kansas Commission on Aerospace Education (KCAE) presented Aviation Explorers Post 8000 with one of their 2019 scholarships, awarding $500 to be used toward student flight lessons.

Aviation Day at the Capitol, hosted jointly with the Kansas Department of Transportation Division on Aviation, celebrates all Kansas aviation activity and the positive impact it has on Kansas.

Accepting the scholarship from Lindsey R. Dreiling, President of KCAE, were Post President Phillip Duncan, and Post Secretary Ragan Rein.

Since its founding in February 2015, Aviation Explorers Post 8000 has acquired a Cherokee 140, donated by Dodson International Parts, Inc., which members restored under the guidance of the Post’s IA’s and is now flying under instruction of our Post’s CFI’s.

The group recharters annually with the Heart of America Council of Boy Scouts Exploring program and currently has 20 post and club members and nine adult advisors. Three members have soloed in the Cherokee, and one is close to finishing his Private Pilot Certificate. Part of the Post meetings are led by youth post officers, elected by these young members.

The primary mission is to provide learning and career exploring opportunities for young men and women starting in sixth-grade through age 20. In addition to a hands-on program that exposes young people to flying, the organization offers guest speakers, field trips, ground school, and opportunities to repair and maintain aircraft.

Meetings are at the Ottawa Kansas Municipal Airport on the second and fourth Thursdays of the month from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. They also regularly meet Saturdays from 9 a.m. to noon except in winter.

The secondary goal is to enrich young people’s lives through culture, historical perspective, and opportunities for youth leadership. Many students today are not aware of the significance of aviation in Kansas history, nor are they aware of the immense opportunity available to them. The Post took on a fundraising project to construct and sell a History Book of the Ottawa Airport. Not only did this teach self organization and fundraising, but also about local aviation history. In addition, Post advisors met with the local school district, informing them about AOPA’s aviation curriculum, and helped launch a Career Track program for Ottawa High School students. They continue to affiliate with Ottawa schools to cross support between programs. Many members are very interested in learning to fly, which can be expensive. Members participate in fundraising by selling donated items, conducting silent auctions, securing advertising, hot dog lunches, and other creative fundraising projects. They benefit from the generosity of many entities like the City of Ottawa, philanthropic adult advisors, and Dodson providing services for free or at a discount. Money is tight, and the group wants to be able to provide flying opportunities young people can afford, offsetting as much of the cost as possible.

The scholarship money was placed into the general fund used towards flight time that is divided by members who earn points by participating in fundraising activities. For more information visit the website at airscouts.club.