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EAA Chapter 15 of Romeoville helps 18-year-old earn pilot’s license

James Duffy of Evergreen Park plans to attend Lewis University and become an airline pilot

A future student at Lewis University in Romeoville is now flying out of Lewis University Airport as a newly branded private pilot.

James Duffy of Evergreen Park received a full-scholarship for flight training in 2020 through the Experimental Aircraft Association Chapter 15 of Romeoville and the Ray Aviation Scholarship program, which is administered by the Experimental Aircraft Association in Oshkosh, Wisconsin.

Duffy completed his training out of Lewis University Airport. An EAA Chapter 15′s member, Marty Reedy, a licensed CFII and currently a captain with American Airlines, trained Duffy, according to a news release from chapter 15.

The Ray Aviation Scholars program provides up to $10,000 scholarships to young people age 15 to 18 that want a career in aviation but don’t have the financial resources for the training, the release said.

To date, the Ray Foundation has provided $1.2 million to fund the scholarship program. The goal is to improve the flight training success rate from 20 percent (the current industry standard) to 80 percent, he release said.

Local EAA chapters, such as chapter 15, identify the youth for the scholarship program and then mentor them. This consists of flight training and supporting the student through the written and practical segments of flight training as both segments are part of successful FAA pilot certification, he release said.

In addition to receiving flight training, students also volunteer with the local EEA chapter. The mission of the Ray Foundation is to further the legacy of James Ray. He was an EAA lifetime member and dedicated to aviation and youth education, he release said.

One hundred and five scholars received flight training scholarships during the first year of the program. Students living in Romeoville or the surrounding communities that’s interested in aviation may apply for the scholarship, he release said.

In September, EEA Chapter 15 EAA Chapter 15, took part in a recreation of the first 2,650-mile transcontinental airmail flight from New York to San Francisco 100 years ago.

For more information on EAA Chapter 15, visit eaa15.org or email info@eaa15.org.

For more information on EAA and its programs, call 800-JOIN-EAA (800-564-6322) or visit eaa.org.