AZ Scholarship Winner Takes Flight in the Backcountry
By Rick Bosshardt
As many of you who attended the “sold out” Arizona Pilots Association’s Annual Meeting on May 13th know, we awarded three Scholarships to deserving young pilots-to-be. From these immensely talented and motivated high school students, who are also involved in extra curricular education in aviation related fields, the Scholarship committee of the APA selected three for this honor. Being one of the members of the Scholarship Committee, I can attest to the difficulty in selecting these three from the 9 outstanding candidates that put forward their applications.
To this end, all three of the Scholarship Committee members offered airplane rides in their planes to any of the applicants and winners that wanted a ride.
I had already given one of the winners a ride during an early spring Young Eagles event at Falcon Field, but I was contacted by the other two winners subsequent to the scholarships being awarded. I managed to get one flight done before I sold my demo plane, and I promised the other a ride as soon as I get my new, and “upgraded,” Carbon Cub in the fall.
So on May 31st I had the distinct pleasure of taking Kayla Phillips, one of our scholarship winners, up for her first flight in a true “backcountry” plane. I wanted her to experience the different kind of flying that such a plane can offer, and to show her that even though her goal is firmly set on being a Captain for an airline in the future, that there are a myriad of different types of planes, and thus many different missions that can be flown!
We started off with a low and slow flight up the Verde River Valley, being sure to keep a bit offset because of the current Eagle nesting period. We opened both the window and door, and were on a “mission” of spotting wild horses! I was truly amazed that for the very first time on my many flights up the Verde, we didn’t see a single one!
It was super great to see that Bartlett Lake is almost full again. As we flew from there to Horseshoe Lake, we saw the water level was just low enough to see the Indian Adobe ruins on the northeast side.
From there we climbed up and over the Four Peaks range, and headed for our destination, Buzzards’ Roost. As the new “caretaker” for the strip/field for the APA, I wanted to land and check out the conditions. The ground was nice and dry, although a bunch of 1-2’ weeds had sprouted up from the recent rains on the meadow that we landed in. The tundra tires made quick work of it, and Kayla experienced her first (voluntary!) off-airport landing!
The return flight took us on a low pass over Grapevine (88AZ) to show her the handiwork of the APA volunteers, and then back to Falcon.
Its really great to feel the passion and excitement from a young person today who loves all things aviation, and Kayla promised to come out with her dad (they are both camping enthusiasts) to our next fall Grapevine event, to camp with all the pilots and to meet more APA members.
Congratulations to Kayla and all the winners and applicants. May your aviation careers be long and rewarding!