We are proud to announce that Christopher Machado was awarded 1st Place in the nation for his essay on How to Finance a Career in Aviation.
Christopher is currently a student pilot at Century Air, and is expected to graduate the Private Pilot program within the next month. He began training in October 2009 and accomplished his first solo in January 2010, when he was just 16 years old.
Christopher plans on using the $3000 prize money towards gaining his instrument rating at Century Air over the next year. After that he will be continuing his education in the career pilot program with Century Air and he is dedicated to becoming an airline pilot in his future.
We look forward to watching his achievements in aviation and congratulate him on a job well done!
Christopher’s 500 word winning essay:
Submit a 500 word educational plan showing how you are going to finance your goal for a career in aviation.
A T-shirt I recently purchased, sums up this topic pretty well. It states, “It only takes two things to fly: Airspeed & Money.” Financing a career in aviation is not easy, especially for a high school student. With hard work, the support of my family, my faith and sacrifice, I will achieve my aviation goals.
Since the age of 14 years old, I’ve been working very hard to save money for flying lessons. When I started high school, my Post Commander first alerted me to how expensive it is to take flying lessons and encouraged me to find a part-time job as soon as I was old enough to work. In the summer of 2008, I emptied my piggybank and used the money to sign up for a lifeguard certification course. I successfully completed the program and was hired by my local YMCA as a lifeguard and swim instructor. I’ve worked there since December 2008. After seeing my dedication and work ethic, several parents have chosen me to instruct their children in private one-on-one lessons through the YMCA. I currently have approximately 3-4 hours in private lessons per week, which pays me a significantly higher rate. I have saved all of my money (approximately $6,500 so far) to pay for the cost of flight school, often forgoing the expense of name-brand jeans, sneakers and video games.
In the Spring and Summer of 2009, in addition to my job at the YMCA, I also worked as a part-time caddy at the Colonia Country Club. I was able to save an additional $1,000 to finance my dream.
In September of 2009, I enrolled in Century Air. My family and I researched several different flight schools in New Jersey. We ultimately decided in Century Air. It provided me with the structured curriculum that I needed, and provided my parents with the comfort of knowing that I was being trained to fly safely. It will ultimately cost me about $12,000 to obtain only my private pilot certificate.
My parents have modestly saved for my college education, which is now also being used toward the cost of financing my aviation career. However, my college fund will not cover the cost of an out-of-state college / university degree program in aviation, without incurring significant student loans. Therefore, I have made the difficult decision not to go away to college and apply the savings toward the cost of my aviation career. I anticipate attending and commuting to a local college in New Jersey to earn my Bachelor’s degree in Business / Finance. I will likewise continue to attend Century Air until I complete my ATP rating.
Lastly, my faith has helped me stay focused. It has given me the strength to make the needed sacrifices and important decisions. The hours I spend in community service through my church allow me to put things in perspective by helping those less fortunate. In return, I feel like someone up there is always watching out for me.
Please award me this $3,000 scholarship. It will bring me that much closer to my dreams. I would still have to continue working long hours, sacrifice, stay home for college, and rely on my parents. I assure the National Aviation Exploring Committee that your investment will reap a multitude of rewards.
— Christopher Machado