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The helicopter industry is facing unprecedented pilot shortages, with a predicted demand of over 7,000 pilots in the United States alone over the next 18 years. To combat these shortages, Southern Utah University (SUU) Aviation has allocated three $20,000 scholarships to Whirly-Girls International for female helicopter pilot students.
This scholarship addition will add a significant dollar amount to the 2019 awards and will help to produce the largest scholarship program in the Whirly-Girls’ 63-year history.
“There’s no possible way for current aviation infrastructure to meet the global demand for helicopter pilots,” said Michael Mower, executive director of SUU Aviation and chief flight instructor. “Our scholarship contribution to the Whirly-Girls program will help promote female helicopter pilots in an effort to resolve the pilot shortages the helicopter industry faces.”
SUU Aviation and the Whirly-Girls will each leverage their unique resources with the common goal of recruiting more female students to the rotor wing industry.
Women comprise only 6 percent of pilots in the United States, and increasing that number is a necessary component of solving the country’s pilot shortage. These scholarships will provide aviation-minded women with the resources to attend helicopter flight school while also connecting them with the mentorship and camaraderie of the Whirly-Girls organization.
The scholarships will be offered for the commercial/instrument rotorcraft flight lab at SUU Aviation. Scholarship recipients will also receive airfare, hotels, and tickets to the 2019 HAI Heli-Expo, an annual global helicopter conference where they will make connections with other industry professionals.
“The SUU Aviation program is a solid program for helicopter flight training,” explained Joni Schultz, president of Whirly-Girls International. “When we combine our strengths of mentoring with the possibilities provided by the SUU program, our ability to fuel the future of women in the helicopter industry grows immeasurably.”
Scholarships such as these help to ease of the costs of helicopter flight training and provide a path to achieve a dream. SUU Aviation offers training in rotary-wing (helicopter) and fixed-wing (airplane) aviation. The Professional Pilot Program offers certificates and ratings ranging from private pilot to certified flight Instructor.
Training takes place at the Cedar City Regional Airport in Utah.
Whirly-Girls Scholarship Fund, Inc. d/b/a Whirly-Girls International is a nonprofit, educational, and charitable organization dedicated to advancing women in helicopter aviation. They provide mentorship, scholarship, and networking opportunities to over 2,050 members representing 49 countries.