New partnership establishes scholarship program to help women pursue pilot license

Southern Utah University has partnered with I Hart Flying to establish a scholarship program to help young women achieve their aviation goals, photo date and location not specified | Photo courtesy of Southern Utah University, St. George News / Cedar City News

CEDAR CITY— Southern Utah University and I Hart Flying, a California-based nonprofit, have partnered to establish a scholarship program to help young women achieve their aviation goals.

Through the partnership, SUU Aviation aims to provide up to $20,000 in flight scholarships, helping young women interested in aviation pursue their pilot’s license and increase the number of female aviators.

“In the next five years, Boeing needs 600,000 pilots, Airbus needs 500,000 pilots, and that’s just the main companies,” said Michael Mower, executive director and chief flight instructor for SUU Aviation. “There’s no possible way for the current aviation infrastructure to meet the global demand, so we are working hard to get the word out. Our partnership with I Hart Flying will tap into a whole market of female aviators who can fill this demand.”

Rachelle Spector, founder and president of I Hart Flying, date and location not specified | Photo courtesy of Southern Utah University, St. George News / Cedar City News

The strategic partnership between SUU and I Hart Flying leverages the unique resources of each entity with the goal of recruiting more female students to the aviation program and giving these students the resources to attend flight school.

“Women occupy less than six percent of the pilot population,” Rachelle Spector, founder and president of I Hart Flying, said. “We want to help young women consider fields not readily apparent for them and develop a passion for something greater than themselves. I’ve been flying for more than seven years now and because someone gave me the gift of flight it changed my life forever.”

What started as a campaign has turned into a national nonprofit organization with the goal to reach global audiences, raising money and awareness to bring more women into the aviation field. Spector started the nonprofit in August 2017.

Immediately following nonprofit status and securing the partnership with the Experimental Aircraft Association, she offered a flight scholarship of $5,000 in the fall of 2017 to young women who showed an interest in aviation and received 200 qualified applications. I Hart Flying has since partnered with more than 10 different companies and organizations and has established themselves nationally as female-driven aviation advocates.

I Hart Flying’s goal is to reach, aid and assist as many young women as possible with offering various scholarship, educational and flight opportunities on a yearly basis.

SUU offers training in rotor wing and fixed wing pilot components and aims to expand the fixed wing program. The Professional Pilot Program offers licenses and ratings in areas ranging from private pilot to certified flight instructor. Training takes place from the Cedar City Airport.

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