Thanks to a new flight training scholarship program, underprivileged adults throughout San Diego will have a chance at an aviation career and a college degree ,absolutely free.
In partnership with the Urban Development Center, the San Diego Flight Training International, Inc. pairs young adults ages 17 through 30 with flight instructors for an 18-month training program. Upon successful completion of 400 flight training hours, participants are eligible for a commercial license and are assisted with job placement at local regional airlines such as Skywest.
“We have gotten a tremendous response from the community and a lot of interest in the program,” said Philip Thalheimer, president and co-owner of San Diego Flight Training International.
Implemented in July, the nonprofit Urban Development Center selects young adults throughout San Diego based on economic and social need and provides them with a full tuition scholarship, estimated between $35,000 to $40,000. The students are instructed on Piper and Cessna planes.
“This is a lifetime opportunity,” said Urban Development Center president Tommy L. Miller. “We are targeting young adults at-risk and offering them a helping hand, another chance at life.”
There are currently three students enrolled in the program and while Miller is looking to expand enrollment, he said it all depends on donations.
So far the Urban Development Center has raised $70,000 in donations from the community and is currently seeking government and private donations.
“The outlook is good, it just takes time to get grants and funding,” Miller said.
Miller is confident that the program’s future will be successful. He said he is preparing to fill the gap of pilots retiring from major commercial airlines with qualified aspiring pilots.