18-year-old gets pilot’s license after passing exam at Leesburg International Airport

Rosie Rivera, 18, a member of Chapter 534 of the Experimental Aircraft Association, has earned her private pilot’s license and can now enjoy the wonders of personal flight on her own.

After completing their oral exam and one-hour check flight with a Federal Aviation Administration examiner (always a tense time for new pilots), they returned home. Upon returning to Leesburg International Airport, she was informed that she had passed the test and had obtained her private pilot’s license.

Rosie Rivera got her private pilot license.

The Ray Aviation Scholarship provides $10,000 towards the cost of dual flight instruction. Local EAA chapters apply to their national EAA organization in Oshkosh, Wisconsin for the privilege of awarding this scholarship each year. The Ray Scholarship Fund awards approximately 100 of these scholarships annually to a deserving young person through selected EAA chapters. Rosie’s award represents the third consecutive year that Chapter 534 has been able to award this scholarship.

Just recently, the national organization gave Chapter 534 the opportunity to award a fourth scholarship of $10,000. At this stage, the new candidate has not been selected.

On Saturday, EAA Chapter 534 hosted a luncheon at their hangar at Leesburg Airport to celebrate Rosie’s accomplishment. More than 40 of the chapter members surrendered.

At noon, all construction activity stopped, the recently sold Zenith 701 was pushed out of the hangar, tables and chairs were set up, the grill was moved outside, and a barbecue began.

Before everyone sat down, Gretchen Crecelius, Scholarship Coordinator, introduced fellow Ray Scholarship winners who are now licensed pilots, Mateo Colmenero and William McCarthy. She mentioned that they were both now working on their instrument ratings.

She then introduced Rosie to the crowd and spoke about the scholarship program and its impact on the future of these young people.

This was followed by a speech from Rosie who expressed her thanks to the chapter members who worked with her and encouraged her to pursue her dream of flight. His ultimate goal is to become a missionary pilot. She will soon begin instruction for a seaplane rating, for which she also won a scholarship from the Seaplane Pilots Association, and will begin studying for her instrument rating.

She spent three years in the chapter’s youth aviation program, 534 Squadron, learning to build and repair planes, practice basic flying skills on one of two simulators, and compete in ground school with other squadron members. She had many opportunities to fly with the young eagles and adult members of the chapter as well as others.


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Edward L. Robinett