Grantee Testimonials

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Greg Larson

As a 2016 Western North Carolina Pilots Association Educational Grant Recipient, I was able to continue training towards and finally earn my Instrument Rating. This has been a significant milestone for me for several reasons; First, I am a safer pilot because of the training the grant helped me achieve, especially when flying with family and friends. Second, having an Instrument Rating has enabled me to serve the Asheville Civil Air Patrol in a more expanded role, and Third, this grant helped me achieve a key milestone while working towards additional aviation certifications.  I am very grateful to have been selected and look for opportunities to serve the local aviation community.


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Ben Bashinski

The WNCPAEF grant was an amazing opportunity. I wasn’t expecting CFI training to cost as much as it did, and the grant helped me power through it so I could start teaching sooner. Having a mentor from the Pilot’s Association monitor my progress helped even more. And getting reimbursed for training was incredibly quick and easy. I’m definitely glad I took the time to apply and would recommend anyone going through a training pipeline to try as well.

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Charles "Devin" Rice

I'm a local to Western NC and can trace my ancestors back over 4 generations to the mountains of Madison County.  I've always had an interest in aviation and achieved my private pilot certificate with WNC Aviation in 2018.  Since then, I've enjoyed sharing my passion with friends and family, and became a member of the Mountain Flyers Flight Club.  I'm currently pursuing my CFI rating, having just passed my IFR written in the summer of 2021.  It is my desire to continue spreading a love for aviation in WNC with future generations to come.

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Graham Collie

“Thanks to the WNCPAEF grant, I was able to work towards my Private Pilots License and pass my check ride all before leaving for college! I couldn’t have done it without the kind and generous people over at the WNCPA.”

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Andrew Leih

"My name is Andrew Leih. I am currently working on my CFI ASEL, and I would like to thank everyone involved at the Western North Carolina Pilots Association for making that happen. Without the generous grant from the WNCPA Educational Foundation I would not be able to be where I am today. Thanks again!"

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Hayden Phillips

"I am a student at A-B Tech in the Commercial Pilot Technology program. I have been so fortunate to receive this grant from WNCPAEF. The money will allow me to complete my Instrument rating certification without having to take out a student loan for which I am so grateful. Flight lessons and seat time are costly, but I appreciate the support given and confidence WNCPAEF has shown in me."

Kai Pipkin

"The WNCPAEF grant has helped me tremendously in pursuing my commercial certificate and aviation dreams, an area where it is hard to get financial support. I am very grateful for the grant and all of the amazing work the WNC Pilot’s Association does for the aviation community."