Ground Effect Advisors Announces 10 Finalists For Flying Club Scholarship

finalists1With just over two weeks to go before a winner is selected, Ground Effect Advisors (GEA) has announced 10 Finalists for their Flying Club Scholarship. These 10 prospective clubs were selected from 126 applications received since the scholarship was announced on January 25th of this year. The winning applicant, to be announced on May 31st, will receive over $3,500 worth of products and support, all of which is geared towards getting the next great Flying Club off the ground.

“When we announced the scholarship, we knew we were breaking new ground”, said Louis Bowers, a GEA partner. “Instead of focusing on the individual, as most aviation scholarships do, our intent was to provide a broader foundation for the growth of General Aviation. We were absolutely blown away with the response. We expected somewhere in the range of 25 to 40 applications. To receive 126 from 33 different states is astonishing, yet also speaks to the tremendous potential of Flying Clubs.”

To narrow the field, GEA relied on their own recipe for success as articulated by Marc Epner, another partner within GEA. “To be successful, a club has to have a strong leader with a vision of what the club is to become. The environment has to be supportive and conducive to growth, and required resources need to be available at the right time and place. This is about building an organization for the long haul. We see that in our 10 finalists.”

The ten finalists are:
• Kenneth A. from Henderson Executive Airport; Las Vegas, Nevada (KHND)
• Bill F. from Terre Haute International Airport-Hulman Field; Terre Haute, Indiana (KHUF)
• Drew A. from Trenton Mercer Airport; Trenton, New Jersey (KTTN)
• Bryan L. from Sundance Airpark; Oklahoma City, Oklahoma (KHSD)
• Gary L. from Camarillo Airport; Camarillo, California (KCMA)
• Tom G from Currituck County Regional Airport; Currituck, North Carolina (KONX)
• Scott C. from Iowa City Municipal Airport; Iowa City, Iowa (KIOW)
• Jay H. and Jeff N. from Jefferson City Memorial Airport; Jefferson City, Missouri (KJEF)
• Zachary P. from Wilmington International Airport; Wilmington, North Carolina (KILM)
• Eric T. from Bemidji Regional Airport; Bemidji, Minnesota (KBJI)
View our map of airports represented by the 126 applications and 10 finalists:

Epner further noted that, “We knew we had something special from the start. The enthusiastic participation of recognizable partners, including the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA), David Clark, Sporty’s Pilot Shop, Signature Flight Support, Cirrus Aircraft, Schedule Master, PilotEdge and was our first indication that this was going to be well received. The overwhelming response from the aviation community sends a strong message that general aviation is alive and well and committed to working together to achieve our common dream. We’re excited to be part of that team.”

Ground Effect Advisors Received 126 Applications for Flying Club Scholarship

infographic-thumb300When Ground Effect Advisors (GEA) announced a scholarship focused exclusively on Flying Clubs on February 15th, the expectation was that approximately 40 – 50 people would submit applications seeking assistance in starting a flying club. One hundred twenty six scholarship applications from 37 states were received, showing an impressive level of interest and need for support in forming flying clubs in the United States. On May 15th, Ground Effect Advisors will announce ten finalists for the scholarship which provides the winning applicant with over $3,500 worth of products, services, and support, all of which is geared towards getting the next great Flying Club off the ground. The winner will be announced on June 1, 2013.

“We are inspired by the quality and volume of applications we received for this scholarship”, comments Todd McClamroch, a GEA Executive. “The overwhelming response sends a strong message of the common thread that runs through the pilot community. Our scholarship will help one of these applicants get a flying club off the ground, but we don’t plan to stop there. We see great potential at airports across the country and we are dedicated to working with our partners to help as many of these applicants as possible.”

Ground Effect Advisors has released an InfoGraphic that communicates some of the interesting statistics that came through the application process. View the full size infographic.

The Flying Club Scholarship, the first of its kind, is meant to assist in starting America’s next great flying club and benefit a community of pilots in the process. Because Flying Clubs have proven to be an effective method to foster general aviation growth, several aviation organizations, including the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) have thrown their support behind the effort to leverage the Flying Club community. AOPA has donated $1,000 in seed funding for the scholarship winner. Adam Smith, Senior Vice President of AOPA’s Center to Advance the Pilot Community stated, “the stakeholders of general aviation are finally beginning to realize the vast potential offered by flying clubs. The opportunity offered by GEA is very promising and certainly will garner the industry’s attention and enhance momentum. I love the idea of scholarships to help start flying clubs. Like a scholarship to help someone learn to fly, but a gift that keeps on giving back to aviation for many years to come.”

Ground Effect Advisors would like to thank their partners who have contributed funds and goods to support the formation of the next great flying club. Our partners include: Aircraft Owners and Pilot Association (AOPA), David Clark, Sporty’s Pilot Shop, Signature Flight Support, Cirrus Aircraft, Schedule Master, PilotEdge,, Heading 370 & Simple Flight Radio.

By |May 2nd, 2013|News|0 Comments

Aviation Scholarships: A New Twist

schoarship_blogTake a look at any list of aviation scholarships on the internet and you will find one thing in common. Each of those scholarships are focused on helping support an individual pilot in pursuing their aviation goals and dreams. It is great that there are so many aviation scholarships available . However, The Ground Effect Advisors feel strongly that there is a void in the landscape of aviation scholarships.

What is needed is an innovative look at how a aviation scholarships can help in building a sustainable community to benefit General Aviation. It is from this idea that my fellow Ground Effect Advisors and I came up with the first of its kind, flying club scholarship. The goal is to have a scholarship that focuses on creating a successful flying club where it might be needed most. This club can then help support a wide variety of pilots and the community around the airport. AOPA’s Adam Smith said “I love the idea of scholarships to help start flying clubs. Like a scholarship to help someone learn to fly, but a gift that keeps on giving back to aviation.”

Ground Effect Advisors is offering a scholarship to assist in starting America’s next great flying club. Leveraging broad aviation and flying club experience, we will help you create a flying club from the ground up. An application window has opened and will run from now through May 1, 2013. At which point we will select ten finalists with whom we will have more in-depth interviews to determine where we might be able to provide the most benefit to the general aviation community. We believe by helping to create a new flying club we will help a larger number of pilots.

We firmly believe flying clubs help keep pilots active and socially engaged. At the same time they are a perfect environment for developing new pilots as the community aspect of the club helps to foster a positive learning environment for new students. We believe if we can help launch a club it could positively benefit 25-50 pilots in a matter of months.

We hope this idea has you as excited as we are and will provide a welcome change to aviation scholarships. If you or anyone you know is interested in creating America’s next great flying club, please apply today!

Lunch with the Pilots

Picture this: a prospective student pilot walks into a his or her local flight school inquiring about flight training and eight hours later the student walks out after a nearly full day of hangar flying, lunch with the pilots, and his first flight in a General Aviation aircraft. Sounds like a dream, right? Surely if this type of experience existed the industry would see all  prospective student signing up for lessons.

Meet Harsha. He did the best thing a prospective student pilot can do when wanting to learn more about flying, he walked passed the flight school and sought out a flight club. He read an a recent article the AOPA website about Leading Edge Flying Club, a club with the motto; “Great Planes, Great People“.

Harsha stopped by to learn about flying and was warmly greeted by six club members who were preparing to head out on a fly-out adventure. As all good pilots would have done they did some weights and measures in their head then realizing they could fit him in, they quickly invited Harsha along for his first GA Flight. The only issue was that Mother Nature was not on board with their plans. What ensued was Harsha’s first introduction to one of the biggest considerations in flying, weather. He watched as six pilots discussed options and worked through the go-no-go decision. It was determined the group would need to wait and see if the weather would improve. Harsha seemed to be enjoying himself and was happy to stick around to partake in a few hours of hangar flying that ensued.

As often is the case, the weather was slow to improve so the pilots took their cars and moved the party to a local pizzeria with the prospective student pilot in tow, who was quickly losing the prefix “prospective”. The camaraderie only found in the aviation community continued despite our distance from an airport or airplane. During lunch Harsha received a call from his wife and he told her he was out to lunch with the pilots. When he got off he shared that his wife was surprised to hear he had just met these men and was now out with “the pilots”.

As the bill was settled, there were some smirks around the table as pilots checked in with Foreflight. Their home airport, Chicago Executive, had just gone VFR. It was one of two airports in the area reporting VFR with a full selection of IFR, Light IFR and Marginal VFR in every direction.

It was as if the air raid siren had just gone off. The LEFC members sprang from their chairs and reported back to the airport. Within 30 minutes, Leading Edge Flying Club had eight club members and one future club member in the air in two club airplanes and two privately owned airplanes (Beechcraft Bonanza, Piper Archer III, Piper Dakota and a Cirrus SR20). The prospective pilot enjoyed his first flight in a general aviation airplane and spent the day as one of the club. Harsha’s story had a very happy ending.

I worry that too often those that want to join our ranks as pilots get turned away by a cold reception at a flight school. “The Pilots” don’t let the prospective pilot taste what it is he or she has dreamed of. Didn’t we all dream of flying and spending time talking about flying? Today Harsha met a family of pilots who get together under the name Leading Edge Flying Club. I don’t doubt that he will soon start his training and I know he will have a support structure that only a flight club can offer that will help him achieve his dream of becoming a certificated pilot.

When was the last time a flight school took their prospective student to lunch, engaged them in hangar flying and then got them airborne? I challenge all pilots in a flight club to make this a goal in the upcoming year.

Todd McClamroch is the editor of, a blog dedicated to covering the topic of learning to fly and leveraging a private pilot certificate.  

By |December 9th, 2012|News|0 Comments