First Chapter 534 Ray Scholar Solos

By Marty Harris, Chapter 534 Director

After five active years with EAA Chapter 534’s weekly youth program following his Young Eagles flight, Mateo Colmenero, age 18, was awarded our first $10,000 Ray Aviation Scholarship in May.

Mateo wasted no time pursuing his dream of
becoming a pilot and within days began his private pilot program with Sunair
Aviation located at Leesburg International Airport (KLEE).

to August 3, 2019. With a low morning overcast just lifting and a blue Florida sky
peeking through the clouds, Mateo preflighted the school’s Cessna 152 for a fewlaps around the pattern with instructor Mike Abernathy while family and
fellow EAA members were anxiously standing by for the possibility of his first
solo after only 15 hours of dual instruction.

three excellent landings the plane pulled up to the ramp, out jumped the
instructor, and Mateo restarted the plane and taxied back to Runway 13 with all
of his fans cheering him on. He levitated perfectly into the morning sky, and
after three perfect full-stop landings, he taxied back to the ramp.

Mateo exited the plane he was all smiles and quite energized, as could be
expected after such a monumental event for this remarkable young man. Following
all of the earned congratulations and photos, Mateo went to the FBO with his
instructor for the traditional signing and clipping of his shirttail.

Chapter 534 members are proud of this young man and look forward to him
completing his private ticket later in the year. For Mateo with his can-do
attitude the sky’s the limit, literally, for his aviation career.

event brought back many wonderful memories to the EAA pilot observers who went
through this same experience over the last several decades.

Chapter 534 is now looking for our 2020 nominee from our youth program. We’d
like to thank EAA and the Ray Foundation for allowing this dream of flight to come
true for so many young aviators.

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