DAYTON, Ohio—A Jamestown youth is the winner of the annual Mitchell Cary-Don Gum Memorial Aviation Scholarship.
The National Aviation Heritage Alliance (NAHA) presented the scholarship certificate on Friday, Dec. 15, to Alex Hackney, 15, son of Paul and Rebecca Hackney of Jamestown, where Alex is a freshman at Greeneview High School.
The presentation took place inside the Huffman Prairie Flying Field Interpretive Center atop Wright Brothers Hill on Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, following the annual First Flight anniversary wreath-laying ceremony.
Dayton brothers Wilbur and Orville Wright made the world’s first sustained, controlled flights of a powered, heavier-than air flying machine at Kitty Hawk, N.C. on Dec. 17, 1903. They continued their flying experiments in 1904 and 1905 on the Huffman Prairie Flying Field in Greene County.
Wright Brothers Hill is a park with a plaza and monument overlooking the prairie. The interpretive center and flying field are units of the Dayton Aviation Heritage Historical Park, located on Wright-Patterson but open to the public.
The aviation scholarship provides $1,500 in financial assistance for a student working toward a light sport or private pilot’s certificate. NAHA established the scholarship in memory of Mitchell Cary and Don Gum, two volunteer pilots for Wright B Flyer Inc. who died in 2011.
“Mitch and Don were tremendous spirits in our organization and friends to everyone who knew them,” Jay Jabour, chairman of Wright B. Flyer Inc., and a NAHA trusteee, said to Alex as he presented the scholarship certificate.
“I’d like to say a big thanks” to NAHA and to Janet Gum and Judy Cary Barazzotto, widows of Don Gum and Mitch Cary, for supporting the scholarship, Alex said. Both women attended the event.
Alex wrote in his scholarship application that he has wanted to become a pilot “ever since I was a kid.” He detailed his career plan for becoming an airline pilot with Dayton-based PSA Airlines and eventually its parent carrier, American. “There can’t be a job better than flying airplanes for a living,” he wrote.
Alex has taken an aviation ground school course, attended the Experimental Aircraft Association’s Basic Air Academy in Oshkosh, Wis., and is a member of a model rocket club.
Scholarship candidates must be between the ages of 15 and 21 and reside in one of the eight counties of the National Aviation Heritage Area: Auglaize, Champaign, Clark, Greene, Miami, Montgomery, Shelby, and Warren counties. Candidates from outside the Area who have attended Air Camp and meet the other eligibility requirements are also eligible. Deadline for scholarship applications next year is Nov. 1, 2018.
The National Aviation Heritage Alliance (NAHA) is a nonprofit chartered by Congress in 2004 as the management entity for the National Aviation Heritage Area, a region of national historical importance encompassing Montgomery, Greene, Miami, Clark, Warren, Champaign, Shelby, and Auglaize counties. The Heritage Area is one of 49 National Heritage Areas in a program administrated by the National Park Service, and the only one dedicated to aviation heritage. Wright B Flyer Inc., an all-volunteer organization that operates and displays replicas of the Wright brothers’ first factory-built airplane, is a NAHA partner. Visit aviationheritagearea.org for more information.