The Experimental Aircraft Association, Inc. (EAA) sponsors an annual Air Academy for youth with a passion for aviation. Recently, local EAA Chapter 58 has begun a scholarship campaign to give Utah youth the ability to attend this prestigious event.
Morgan resident Ethan Vesper was chosen to represent EAA Chapter 58 this summer. The $1,500 scholarship allowed Vesper the opportunity to travel to Oshkosh, Wisconsin, to participate in the 2016 Air Academy, which hosts students from around the United States and several foreign countries.
Applicants were required to submit an essay, two letters of recommendation-one from a parent and one from a teacher or youth leader.
Vesper was already a participant in the Young Eagles program and has aspired to be a military pilot and eventually an astronaut since he was a small child.
Vesper graduated from the Utah Military Academy in June and signed on with the United States Marine Corps Reserves in July. He will ship off to boot camp in November of this year and then plans to serve a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints before attending college and finishing his military service. He plans to major in aeronautical engineering and minor in linguistics.
Several days of the Academy took place during the world’s largest and most exciting aviation event — EAA AirVenture. More than 10,000 aircraft arrived at Wittman Regional Airport in Oshkosh and other airports in east-central Wisconsin.
This was Vesper’s favorite part of the journey. He was able to see aircraft of all varieties and visit with other aviation enthusiasts from around the globe. His studies in Russian paid off as he was able to help several Russian-speaking visitors purchase items and navigate the area in their native tongue.
“It was so cool to know that I could actually converse in Russian. It is one thing to learn the language in a classroom setting, but to use it with native speakers was a whole new experience,” said Vesper.
The AirVenture included an evening air show. During this show aircraft dazzled the crowd with a display of precision aerobatics from many of the world’s top air show performers mixed with dazzling pyrotechnics including the “Wall of Fire.”
Academy activities included flight experience in a helicopter as well other aircraft, workshops and classroom study.
EAA’s Director of Museum & Museum Education Bob Campbell says, “The EAA Air Academy teaches young people new skills and instills a pride of craftsmanship. More importantly, it develops their leadership potential and broadens their understanding of both aviation and themselves. The EAA Air Academy is a benchmark of personal experience . . . and an aviation experience that will last a lifetime.”
For Vesper, that proved to be true. He relayed that “it was the best thing I have ever done, definitely something I will never forget.”
Applicants need not be EAA members. The prime consideration is an interest and enthusiasm for aviation. To be on the mailing list for next year’s scholarship opportunity, please email EAA Chapter 58 Young Eagles Coordinator Tom Holt at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Young Eagles will be providing free flights to interested youth once again in Morgan now that the resurfacing is done on the runways. This opportunity will take place on September 17 at the Morgan County airport. An additional chance for a complimentary flight will be held on October 8 at the Ogden airport. Please contact Holt for more information.