By Kristina Ledwith, EAA 1115156
I was raised in a northern California suburb, Roseville, and spent my childhood split between there and Bangkok, Thailand. No stranger to air travel, I was always enamored with aviation. It wasn’t until after college that I realized my potential in pursuing an aviation career when I began flight lessons in pursuit of a private pilot certificate.
In December 2019, I received an email that I had received an EAA scholarship, the United Airlines Flight Operations Pilot Scholarship. I couldn’t believe it. I was overjoyed and so excited to get a move on my training.
In January 2020, I completed my private pilot checkride and was eager to get right into my instrument rating thanks to the scholarship. The scholarship helped me get instrument instruction and build my instrument and cross-country time. Of course, the COVID pandemic hit so that slowed down my training quite a bit and I was worried it would take me much longer than the few months I had planned to complete it.
After taking a brief break to earn my tailwheel endorsement, I finally earned my instrument rating at my home airport, Lincoln Regional Airport (KLHM) in Lincoln, California, in September 2020. It was one of the most gratifying experiences as it was a very challenging rating with many struggles along the way. I think that feeling of overcoming challenges is why so many of us are enamored with aviation and the journey of earning our ratings. I recently earned my Commercial ASEL certificate in my father’s 1948 Luscombe 8E in January 2021 with the remainder of my scholarship.
I can’t thank EAA and the scholarship funders enough for granting me this scholarship. It greatly decreased the financial burden for me and helped me truly focus on what was important: the learning and the flying. I am currently preparing for my CFI initial checkride and am thrilled I’ll one day get the privilege of introducing the wonderful world of flying to others.
Thank you again EAA supporters for this opportunity. I look forward to the day I can pay it forward by helping other young ladies pursue a career as a pilot.