Justin McDonald

Student pilot Justin McDonald recently received a $10,000 scholarship.

VENICE — A Civil Air Patrol member in Venice earned a “unique full-scholarship opportunity” for training.

Justin McDonald, a CAP major in the Venice Cadet Squadron, received it through EAA Chapter No. 1285 of Venice and the Ray Aviation Scholarship program, the local Civil Air Patrol announced Wednesday.

The Ray Aviation Scholarship comes through the Experimental Aircraft Association, of Oshkosh, Wis.

The program provides scholarships of up to $10,000 to youth wanting to learn how to fly, the news release said.

“The Ray Foundation has provided $1.2 million to fund the scholarship program, which seeks to improve the flight training success rate from the current industry standards of 20 percent to 80 percent for program participants,” it said. “Local EAA chapters are responsible for identifying youth for the Ray Aviation Scholarship program and mentoring them through flight training. The Ray Foundation is furthering the legacy of James Ray, an EAA lifetime member who was dedicated to aviation and youth education.”

Justin McDonald will train through Paragon Flight School at Page Field Airport near Fort Myers. The funding helps with both written and practical segments of training “that are part of successful FAA pilot certification,” it said.

In its first year more than 100 scholarships have been earned. The goal is to have more than 80% receive their pilot certification.

“EAA chapters play a critical role in the success of the Ray Aviation Scholarship program. Chapters interested in participating are prequalified by EAA through an application process,” the news release states. “If selected, they mentor and support the scholarship recipient throughout their flight training journey. Once selected as a Ray Aviation Scholarship Fund participant, candidates also commit to volunteer service with the local EAA chapter.”

Venice EAA Chapter No. 1285 meets every at 7:30 p.m. the third Tuesday of every month.

However, it’s currently meeting virtually on a weekly basis.

For more information, visit https://chapters.eaa.org/eaa1285 or contact Chapter President Dennis King by emailing ddkingut@gmail.com.

EAA has more than 230,000 and 900 chapters. For more information on it, call 800-564-6322 or visit www.eaa.org.

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