They Give Aspiring Pilots a Lift
March 27, 2015
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  • This year, the Auburn Aviation Association has made two $2,500 scholarships available to expose Auburn-area students to the world of general aviation.

    Christy Oliveira, publicity co-chair of Mach 5 Aviation, said recipients of the award will receive paid ground school and flight training.

    “These scholarships are also available to students who have already passed the F.A.A. written ground school exam and/or have a pilot’s license, and are actively pursuing an education in the aviation industry,” Oliveira said. “In that case, the $2,500 would be used to further flight education requirements.”

    James Jacobsen, of Auburn, was the winner of last year’s $2,500 Auburn Aviation Association scholarship.

    “He worked for Mach 5 by interning over the summer in the shop,” Oliveira said. “His smile and sweet demeanor brought a lot of sunshine into my life as I missed my son.”

    She said Jacobsen took his check ride with John Kluenker, flight instructor at Mach 5 Aviation, on his 17th birthday, last November, gaining his Private Pilot Certificate.

    “He (Kluenker) has a way of making students feel comfortable with his easy-going nature,” Oliveira said. “He likes the challenge of making difficult concepts easy to understand.”

    She said Kluenker is now a corporate pilot flying a Citation X for a local company and continues flight instruction at Mach 5 in order to share his love of aviation with others.

    “John is super awesome,” Jacobsen said. “Flying is a blast.”

    Kluenker, who with his wife Carrie recently adopted a baby girl, said he started flying when he was 14 years old and soloed on his 16th birthday.

    “I have loved airplanes my entire life, and enjoy flying and competing in aerobatics in my Pitts S-1S,” Kluenker said. “One might say I’m a certified airplane ‘nerd.’”

    Auburn Aviation estimates that they have given scholarships for flight training for more than 29 years amounting to approximately $250,000.

    Download applications at Completed applications are due Wednesday, April 15.