Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association’s Central Southwest Regional Manager, Yasmina Platt, was awarded the $2,500 Racing Aces Aviation Scholarship for Women. The announcement of the winner at the Angel Flight Network event in West Houston Airport (KIWS) on May 16, was a surprise for Platt who was at the event representing AOPA. Racing Aces Pilot, Dianna Stanger, presented the award to her.
The scholarship was donated from The Racing Aces winnings purse from the 2014 Air Race Classic Race and was awarded to Platt after assessment of her scholarship application by three aviation industry professionals. In her application Platt stated, “In the short term, I plan to use this flight training scholarship to become a private-helicopter pilot. But in the long term, I intend to use my new knowledge and certificate to advocate for helicopter pilots and operations as I work for AOPA. The helicopter industry is one of the areas within aviation that is growing, with a higher demand for helicopters, helicopter pilots, helicopter flying, companies using helicopters, etc. I want to obtain my helicopter add-on to understand the issues helicopter operators and pilots face to successfully and effectively advocate and fight for safe and open helicopter operations.”
“As someone who has worked along with Calhoun Air Center promoting aviation related events, Yasmina has been a tremendous asset and ambassador for aviation,” Stanger said. “She is always an inspiration for anyone hoping to become a pilot. With her efforts, AOPA has become a major support source for many of our pilots and airports.” Gregory Pecoraro, AOPA’s Vice President, Airports and State Advocacy, said “Yasmina is perhaps one of the greatest aviation enthusiasts I have ever met. She is extremely passionate about aviation, and has been a great evangelist throughout her region. She is already an outstanding pilot with multiple ratings. A scholarship allowing her to acquire new skills and knowledge, will make her even more effective as an aviation advocate.” Platt “caught the aviation bug” early in life when she and her family would fly from the Canary Islands to mainland Spain. Although her love for flying started when she was just a toddler, it wasn’t until 2002 that she was able to start flight training after moving to Houston, Texas from Spain. Bob Raskey, a former USAF Fighter Pilot, current Commercial Airline Captain, and a Rotorcraft-Helicopter Instructor, learned of Platt’s aviation skills while flying with her during a Discovery Channel production called Dangerous Flights, where he and Platt were tasked with ferrying a CE-206 from Tracy, CA to Poland. “Yasmina’s skills and high motivation will represent the goals of The Racing Aces well,” explained Raskey.
“As an AOPA Regional Manager, Yasmina is on the front line of aviation issues and is constantly protecting the rights of all aviators throughout the country. With the obtainment of a Helo Add-on rating, she will be in a great position to advocate many of the issues facing helicopter owners and operators today.” More information about Platt’s work with AOPA can be found at: www.aopa.org/Advocacy/Airports-and-State-Advocacy/Central-Southwest. Learn more about the Racing Aces at www.theracingaces.com.