Meet the newest squadron of Bay Area pilots. Local high school students Alexander, Brayden, Jack, Maheesa and Nathaniel are freshly minted private pilots, having earned their wings through the generosity of the Upwind Foundation, created by Bay Area pilots to promote piloting careers.
This nonprofit makes a big impact on young people’s lives by awarding scholarships to complete a private pilot license—ground school all the way through a check ride with an FAA examiner. The students receive expert instruction and mentorship from other pilots, and the training manuals, charts and tools required for flight planning and piloting.
The Upwind Summer Scholarship Class of 2022 started attending ground school in April. They began their flight training in June, completed their first solo flight in early July, and earned their wings and achieved their dreams in August.
On August 26, a celebration honoring the new pilots was held at the San Carlos Flight Center where the students spent nine weeks completing their training. On a beautiful summer evening amidst the backdrop of aircraft landing at both SQL and SFO, the event featured: speeches and awards from Upwind Foundation program leaders, appetizers and ice cream cake, balloons, and thank-you remarks from the teens and their proud parents, all of whom shared their gratitude and amazement that their child achieved their goal after having dreamed of becoming a pilot since they were tikes.
The Upwind Foundation has awarded 37 scholarships over the past 10 years. Applications for the Upwind Summer Scholarship Class of 2023 will be available online beginning December 1, 2022. Apply to the program or make a donation to support the next generation of Bay Area aviators here.