Learn to Fly Contest winners to take flight this summer

By Dianne Titterington-Machad for John Wayne Airport

The Orange County Chapter of the Ninety-Nines, International Organization of Women Pilots in conjunction with two of John Wayne Airport’s premier flight schools, Sunrise Aviation and Orange County Flight Center, sponsored the fourth Why I Want to Learn to Fly Essay Contest. The Contest is open to teens ages 14 to 18 years who must submit a 300- to 500-word essay. The 10 selected winners each receive a flight lesson, along with Rod Machado’s 40-hour interactive eLearning ground school, to prepare for the private pilot written exam and check ride. 

Learn to Fly Contest pilot

Click on photo for a larger image

Courtesy of OC99s

OC99 pilot snaps a selfie in the pilot’s seat

With their first flying lesson, students of every academic level become more excited about STEM topics. It inspires them to study more earnestly, develop greater confidence and experience an authentic increase in self-esteem. Students in flight training also quickly mature in their general judgment and decision-making skills.

The pilot shortage is increasing, with forecasts indicating 558,000 new commercial airline pilots will be needed over the next 20 years, along with other flying opportunities. The Ninety-Nines co-sponsor the essay contest as a way to get young people interested in flying and hopefully pursue it as a career.

For more information on the Ninety-Nines, visit