AOPA Flight Training Scholarship Applications Now Open

The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association application window to apply for 2021 AOPA Flight Training Scholarships opened on Dec. 1, 2020, and will remain open until Sunday, February 14 at 11:59 p.m. (EDT).  AOPA members are invited to apply for primary and advanced flight training scholarships. 

Last year, 124 scholarships totaling more than $1 million were awarded, and with the help of generous donations to the AOPA Foundation, AOPA has awarded more than $2.5 million in scholarship funding to 345 aspiring and enduring pilots over the years.

“AOPA’s mission is to protect your freedom to fly, and these scholarships bring this vision alive by opening the sky to more people with that passion,” said Elizabeth Tennyson, executive director of AOPA’s You Can Fly program. “These scholarships help current and future aviators at all points of the flying spectrum, especially for those from segments who may not have seen a path to the cockpit.”

With different goals for different aviators – and those aspiring to become pilots – AOPA is offering flight training scholarships in several categories:


Thanks to the generosity of the Ray Foundation, a number of exceptional high school students, ages 15 to 18, will receive flight training scholarships in 2021. In 2020, 80 students were awarded $10,000 each.

“Our recent You Can Fly High School Symposium reaffirmed how exciting flying can be for a student,” added Tennyson. “Some past scholarship recipients mentioned how thrilling it was to have a pilot’s license, while everyone else was ‘only’ driving.”

Scholarship recipients will be able to use the money for direct flight training expenses to pursue a primary pilot certificate, such as a private, sport, or recreational pilot certificate. They must also complete a flight training milestone: achieving either a solo flight or earning a primary pilot certificate within one year of receiving a scholarship.

The overall milestone success rate for scholarship winners stands at an impressive 87 percent.

Click here for eligibility requirements and frequently asked questions.

Be sure your AOPA membership is current. Not a member? Take advantage of a free AOPA AV8RS or free 6-month student pilot membership options.

A few things you’ll need to have handy when completing your application:

  • High school transcript
  • Contact information for each of your two references (tell them soon, so they have time to write a reference!)
  • A list of school and non-school related clubs and organizations in which you have participated since your freshman year, as well as any corresponding leadership positions (particularly those that may be aviation-related)
  • A list of volunteer organizations in which you participate,
  • A list of honors and awards that you have received in school, clubs/organizations volunteering
  • And your pilot logbook (if you have one)


To complement our support of student-learners, and thanks to the generosity of the Ray Foundation, a number of teachers will be awarded scholarships to pursue a primary pilot certificate (private, sport, or recreational pilot).

In 2020, 20 teachers each received a $10,000 scholarship.

To be eligible, a teacher must be:

  • An AOPA member
  • A full-time employee of a school or school system
  • Teaching the AOPA High School Aviation STEM Curriculum


These scholarships, ranging in awards from $2,500 to $7,500, are open to current AOPA members who are at least 16 years of age by the application deadline. The scholarship award can be applied to training for a private pilot, sport pilot, or recreational pilot certificate. As with the other AOPA Flight Training scholarships, these are funded by generous donations to the AOPA Foundation.

Click here for eligibility requirements and frequently asked questions.

If you’re not an AOPA member, take advantage of a free 6-month student pilot membership or click here to review membership options.


For those accomplished pilots who may have dreams of making aviation a career, the AOPA Foundation will award various scholarships, ranging from $3,000 to $10,000, to AOPA members seeking one of the following ratings or certificates:

  • Instrument
  • Commercial
  • CFI (Certificated Flight Instructor)
  • CFII (Certificated Flight Instructor – Instrument)
  • MEI (Multi-Engine – Instructor)

“Seeing a new pilot, or someone who advances on their journey, is what makes our You Can Fly team burst with pride,” added Tennyson.  “We do recommend that those interesting in applying to start their process as soon as possible. February will be here before we know it!”

If questions about the application process, please email