You Choose the Winner!

This year, YOU get to choose the winner of our $20,000 scholarship prize for one of our lucky shortlist applicants!

One of these finalists will receive a $20,000 scholarship to make their dreams come true and become qualified to be an Airline Pilot with Sling Pilot Academy. Find out more about our program here.

Specially during this time, winning this scholarship could make all the difference.

(Vote for your friend/family member or read the scholarship submissions below to decide)

Voting Ended 8/14/2020 at 8:30am Pacific

Brandon Leonard has been selected Winner!

This poll is no longer accepting votes

Please Vote for the 2020 Sling Pilot Academy Scholarship Winner!
8128 votes

Scholarship Submissions

The last ten years has seen me working as an EMT for various services but has made me realize there is something else I would like to do as a career. When looking for a new take on life I looked for where I could apply so many skills that I have learned and had a colleague mention aviation. This was six months ago and I have done nothing else but learn, think and dream of flying. Learning about crew resource management, the daily inspection and the checklist used while still being ready to improvise all while studying and learning something new is what I have been practicing while working as an EMT. Unfortunately, EMT wages are suppressed and during my dreaming it has been researching the most efficient way to learn to fly and transition into a career. Using YouTube as a resource I continued to seek more information and learned from the pilot and video host Mojo Grip about sling aircraft leading to the academy. Seeing an academy with a reasonable price and time, with a modern cockpit that is standard in the profession has made me reach out and apply for a second career and a change to the future of becoming a professional aviator. Hopefully the scholarship will enable me to pursue this.

To put it simply I want to fly and there are three reasons why I believe I am a great candidate for Sling’s Scholarship. One I’ve had a heartfelt passion for flying since childhood, two I am Army veteran who has the leadership and technical traits to be a pilot, and third due to the COVID-19 pandemic I am in a career transition with financial need and this scholarship opportunity would set me on a trajectory to achieve my dream. Since childhood I’ve had the passion to earn my wings and join the aviation community. This was cultivated in my childhood summers where I spent hours on end with my brothers admiring single prop planes fly into the local Northern Michigan airport. This interest drew me to the airborne community where I served as an Army paratrooper jumping out of C-130 and C-17 aircraft. At each turn of my life I’ve been drawn into the world of aviation and that enthusiasm burns even brighter this day. As an Army veteran I possess the technical expertise and discipline to be successful as a pilot. As a pilot you must have a complete understanding of the instruments of your aircraft, it’s capabilities, but also the fact that your life (as well as that of others) is in your hands. In the military I oozed the responsibility of being a leader of my Soldiers and equipment. Like aviators, I understand what it takes be a professional constantly learning and mastering your craft. As a pilot and scholarship recipient, I am confident I can leverage these same skills to be a successful candidate in your program. Finally it’s no secret that the aviation community is a serious financial commitment. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic I was laid off from my employment and have decided that it is the time to make a career change. Even though I have remained fiscally responsible I am no exception to this significant financial hurdle. A Sling Academy Scholarship will lift this financial burden and enable me to focus acutely on achieving my dream of becoming a commercial pilot.

Hello, I should be chosen for this scholarship because I have successfully completed four years of aviation classes at my college. I attend University of Maryland Eastern Shore and my field of study is aviation management. I am going to graduate with a Bachelor of Science in Aviation. The program at my school is divided into two sections a pilot or management. Just recently about a year now I decided it is best for me to become a pilot than to do management. To begin my career to becoming a pilot this scholarship award would be great! I had lost my mom not to long ago and that left my family in a financial situation where one of my loved ones is stuck paying my expensive tuition. Also, my mother was one of the main reasons why I became interested in aviation in the first place. To whom this may concern I feel like this opportunity and scholarship is really meant for me. Thanks!

Good afternoon, My name is Brandon and I am a young man aspiring to become a commercial pilot. I have done extensive research of different options in order to not only expedite my training, but also to get the best training while also being financially conscious. All of those characteristics combined into one program, as you know very well, is near impossible to find. That is why when I found this program I immediately decided to apply for your scholarship. I am a well suited candidate as I am ambitious, free to move anytime, and not tied down by anything except the time it takes to apply and get accepted. At 21 years old I am a combat veteran, and still currently serving in the NH Army National Guard as a UH-60 helicopter mechanic. This is where my love of aviation and dreams of becoming a pilot all started. As much as I love rotary wing, there is not nearly as much demand for those pilots as they are in the commercial passenger market. That is why I want to combine my love of aviation and desire to pilot by attending your program. I Look forward to hearing back from you and seeing what lies ahead in my flying career. Thank you for your time, consideration, and generosity.

I was born in Lusaka, Zambia to African parents I never had the chance to meet. I nearly died at three months from a severe chest infection. I was adopted when I was 6 months old. My brothers and I were raised entirely overseas in various parts of Africa and Asia. Though English is my mother tongue I have varying degrees of abilities in Shona, Krio, Bengali and Thai. I am a citizen of the world, and hope to continue impacting lives abroad. As my parents served underprivileged children and families abroad for 23 years (which I was before I was adopted) in various parts of Africa and SouthEast Asia, air travel had always been a part of my family giving back to people less fortunate. My future could not exist without aviation in it. When I say that, one hundred percent of my heart can go into those words. For almost a year now, I have been highly devoted to seeking ways to earn it. I have always envisioned myself becoming ATP certified, flying for a career, while using my CFI, CFII, MEI ratings to support “Black Dreamers” then they too can have an opportunity. I’m a firm believer in paying it forward, and using my platform to enrich the lives of others. Everyone deserves to attempt at their dream, and by me applying I am attempting at my dream to support minorities. My parents are not the most financially stable to appetize my flying endeavors. Neither of them are at all connected to the field of aviation, so it’s all up to me. I’m not the son whose dad is a pilot and is best friends with the CFI at the local airport. My parents support me and my dreams; but I need that extra help. And I’m applying for this scholarship because I genuinely need help; not because I don’t want to try. Thank you for taking the time to read my story. My true love is aviation and I really hope that with this opportunity I can pay it forward.

Like most others applying for this scholarship I have always aspired to become a pilot and be able to fly. It’s something I want more than anything and will do whatever it takes. It is something that I think about every night in order to fall asleep. Although I have very little flight time I have been saving meticulously in order to be able to afford as much as possible. Every day my thoughts on money revolve around flight school. I don’t come from a family who has money so I think to myself, when I want something, what percentage of a flight hour can I buy if I save that money instead? It deepens all the way to how long I leave on the A/C when I leave my tiny apartment, to going out with friends when I’m invited and even to what I buy at the grocery store. I realized Today that I was spending $10 a month on avocados so I figured my sandwich isn’t as important as my chances of becoming a pilot are and yes I do realize to others and to my self that I am being extremely legalistic on what I can do with the money I make but deep down this Is something I want so much that it’s almost as if I don’t really have a choice because I am in love with the idea of one day flying as a career more than anything else. Enough to cast my lot on winning an online lottery for a scholarship. It’s impossible because i can’t see my life any other way. It doesn’t matter if I have to take out loans or work 60+ hours a week I will become a true pilot one day. So I ask you Sling Academy if anyone would love an opportunity to be able to fly more than me then I have never met them so if you choose to give someone who needs a chance then please choose me. Thank you.

February 28th 2020, a day I will never forget; the day of my discovery flight. A few weeks prior to that date, aviation started to grab my attention and I started to search how to become a pilot. While searching, I came across the Sling Pilot Academy and their 9 month from zero hours course. I found that the academy was not far from where I live and decided to go check it out. When I walked in to the front office to just ask some questions and get some more information, they asked if I wanted to go on a discovery flight and of course I couldn’t turn down that opportunity. Jean was nice enough to take me up in a beautiful Sling TSi and it was breathtaking. I will never forget that experience and ever since then I’ve only been having an urging desire to fly again. The only thing that was keeping me from enrolling in the academy was the $65,595 price tag and that I have to take a personal loan which I will have to start paying off during the training. I started looking around at cheaper programs like Orange Coast College and Mt. SAC but I didn’t feel the same there as I felt at the Sling Academy. I honestly felt like I belonged at Sling! I fell in love with the environment there and really liked how everyone was close, laid back, and worked together as a team. After seeing what the Sling Pilot Academy has to offer, I don’t think I will be able to attend any other program. Receiving the $20,000 scholarship will take a huge burden off my shoulders because it will significantly reduce the stress of the payments which will allow me to remain focused on the training. I have been working and perfecting this submission for month, waiting for the right time to apply because it means so much to me. I would truly love to be considered for this opportunity and to become part of the Sling family.

This scholarship will mean more to me then just winning a prize or extra money in my pocket. I’ll see it as a seed being sown into my future. A future that I’m working hard to get to, to live out my dreams of being an African American female pilot. Aviation is a very expensive field to get into and sometimes hard to complete. But I feel as though with the right backing and self determination, its all worth it in the end. Becoming a pilot is something I’ve dreamed of becoming since the age of 13. I knew then that there was nothing else I wanted to be or could see myself being and that I wouldn’t let anything get in the way of me reaching my goal. Getting an education and having a degree is also something that is very important to me. Joining the field field of aviation has been a scary one, but one that I am destine to conquer. I believe that my journey in aviation is not just for me but for plenty of young girls to come after me. I want to inspire others with my dream to encourage them that they too can reach great heights as long as they stay motivated and determined, not letting anything stand in their way. I would be greatly appreciative of the opportunity to be a recipient of this award. I feel as though it will be put to good use and seen as an investment into the field and future of aviation.

I’ve been obsessing over airplanes since I was 2 years old. I’ve built well over three-hundred of my own design radio controlled models, have sent them all over the world, and have competed and dominated in contests. I am fit, motivated, and unstoppable. Please give me this opportunity to become a pilot, you will not regret it.

I would be very grateful for tuition assistance as anywhere you go, flight school, is very expensive. I am currently working in the oilfields of North Dakota to help pay for it. Originally I was going to go to ATP but was recommended Sling Academy by a close friend, and have decided that’s where I want to go. I can’t wait to start! The scholarship would get me in that much sooner to start working on my dream. Thank you.

I am applying for this scholarship because I have exhausted all my possible options of flying. I arrived to the U.S at the age of 13 when my parents came here Illegally being afraid that my recently born sister would get kidnapped after receiving multiple threats. I joined Junior Air Force Rotc my entire high school with the promise that on on my last year we would have the option of flying and have some hours toward a private pilots license. My senior year came and to my surprise I could not qualify because I was not here legally. Life went on and I married my high school girlfriend and we both worked together to push her towards her dream job ( Emergency Room Rn). I am in the process of obtaining my citizenship but at least now I have a green card. I tried joining the Air Force, but because I only have a temporary green card while my citizenship is in process, I can not join the Air Force. I would like to join the Air Force and become a fighter pilot. My wife is now in full support of my dream now. I also have another problem… my age. I am currently 27 and in order to join the Air Force and try to become a fighter pilot I need to apply 1 year before I turn 33. Life has put all these obstacles in my way since I was 13, but I believe everything is for a reason. My dream that seemed impossible during my senior year of high school still has a chance. Now that I am legally here in the U.S, I ran across your academy while I keep looking for ways to meet the age requirement. I am in a battle against time and I have just a few years before the window of opportunity closes to become a fighter pilot. My wife and I already talked and we will be moving to california if necessary for the duration of the program. Thank you for considering me for this great program, I mean it with immense gratitude.

I would be very excited to have the opportunity to be apart of the sling pilot academy. I’ve been reading and watching many different pilots suggestions to get a airline job the quickest and most cost affordable way and come to the conclusion that flight schools like Sling Pilot Academy offer a great deal for young “want to be pilots”. This scholarship would give me the opportunity of a lifetime to obtain all my certifications to become a pilot in the airline or a corporation pilot. It would be a tremendous help with the financial part of flight school and keep me from gathering a terrible debt like most people that go to a four year degree college. I’m a dedicated person when it comes to something I’m passionate about learning. If I was granted this scholarship, I would presume only greats things to come from this academy. I hope you consider me to be apart of this wonderful program in future!

This is something that I am very passionate about. As a kid I was always pretending to fly. I’d make paper airplanes or take my toys, even if it was a race car and I’d just pretend they could fly. I’ve always had the fascination of being able to fly. My mother had this blue and gold Chanel scarf that I’d tie around my neck every single day. It got to the point where I wore it to school a few times, but I would pretend to fly. Every time my mother would have to leave I’d ask her if she wanted me to fly her to where she needed to be. I would ALWAYS watch this tv show called Jay Jay The Jet Plane and my eyes would open wide and I’d feel my energy levels explode through the roof. Till this day, I get that same feeling! Being able to fly has always been every kids dream, but it’s different for me. I don’t just want to be able to fly, but I want to be able to fly and show people that it’s fun. It’s safe, exhilarating and peaceful all at the same time. Other than those reasons, the world is a beautiful place from up there. I want to be the best Pilot there is, and be able to teach others to become the best. So for me it isn’t all about the money, but pursuing something that I’m passionate about. Doing something that I know I would be good at. Doing something I love. My Grandmother would always take my brother and I to The City Airport on the Eastside of Detroit and we’d just stand there outside the fence and watch the airplanes take off. Till this day I still love it. Somewhere along the line I got caught up in life and suppressed that dream. I thought it was something unattainable. Anything is possible, you just have to put your mind to it. THE SKY IS THE LIMIT! Something that always grounds me is watching airplanes take off. I don’t want to watch airplanes take off anymore. I want to be the one in the driver’s seat. So again, it isn’t about the money for me, but doing something that I love and would be the best at and this is why I should be chosen.

I remember the first time I realized black pilots exists. I was around 8 years old on a flight to the Caribbean to visit family. I was flying without my parents and was terrified. During the flight, a flight attendant offered to allow my brother and I to see the cockpit. The nods, lights and buttons were mesmerizing and there were two black men seated in the pilot and co-pilot seats. It wasn’t until I was older that I realized that what I saw was rare because, statistically, less than 3% of commercial pilots are black. Growing up, my neighborhood in Brooklyn, NY felt like the furthest place in the world for a black kid from the inner city to accomplish something. There was no one in my family or community to encourage me to pursue my dream. Like any dream, without nurturing, it can whittle away until it becomes a distant memory. I went on to focus on a different dream and ultimately graduate from film school and moved to California to start a career in creating digital content. Recently, I was gifted a discovery flight for my birthday and, instantly, that dream of flying (that I thought was safely tucked away) felt possible again. It felt tangible and my passion was reinvigorated. I want to fly because flying represents freedom to me. I also want to fly because I want to be the encouragement and example that I did not have in my own community. I want to be the reflection of success to young people that look like me that dream big and want to accomplish the impossible. It would be an honor to train at the Sling Pilot Academy and fulfill my dream of becoming part of the exclusive club of aviators. A large percentage of aspiring pilots are discouraged from pursuing this career due to the cost of training. This scholarship is important to me because it will significantly help with the financial burden of gaining my commercial rating. If I am selected as 2020 Sling Pilot Academy scholarship recipient, my dream of flying would be closer to achieving than ever before.

I have always dreamed of being an airline pilot. However, due to my family’s financial situation it was not in the cards for me at that time, so I joined the military. Seven days after my high school graduation I left for Army boot camp. During my time of enlistment I gained training and invaluable knowledge that was later used in my life as a production operator at a steel mill. After years of working 12hr shifts and saving money I knew now was the perfect time to leave my blue collar career and follow my dreams. This scholarship would be greatly beneficial to helping me complete my path to becoming an airline pilot.

My father had the dream to become pilot but because of money and time he prioritized another proffession and family. My brother had the same dream and he actually started his pilot path taking classes but some time later he also did and took the same decision that our dad; first family. I think the aviation is some how in the family blood. I’m not soo diferent of them. Recently, I started to think to take class and YES become pilot and after that buy and build my own airplane (a Sling TSI – thanks MojoGrip for all videos). Once I have my pilot license and my airplane I will bring my dad and my brother from Brazil to fly with me until the Oshkosh festival. So this is my history and my plan that I will accomplish it doesn’t matter what, with or without the scholarship I will be successful with that 🙂

I believe I should be chosen for this scholarship opportunity for several reasons. I am a twenty six year old who has more drive and motivation than most. I grew up in a single parent household with my mother and brother. Over the years I noticed my mother work a full time job and put herself thru nursing school to better our family. We struggled most days but it is a part of who I am. My mother taught me if you truly want it, if you want something so bad, you stop at nothing to get it. She is the biggest reason I am who I am today. This is why I have the motivation, self-perseverance, and drive to further my flight career. I had no idea I wanted to pursue a career in aviation. My grandfather is a helicopter pilot and I’ve flown with him several times as a child but never had the urge to pursue my helicopter license. It wasn’t until a friend of mine who is a pilot introduced me to flying planes. I flew left seat for the first time this year and fell absolutely in love with it. Flying showed me another perspective of everything. I realized at this point this is what I have to do. I was infatuated with it from that very first day. Since, I’ve been pursuing my private pilot license locally and want to continue all the way to the airlines. I know that I have the motivation and drive to be a great pilot someday. Thank you for considering me for your scholarship opportunity.

I’m in Marketing here in Silicon Valley and quite frankly, my wife and I live pretty okay with the wages we make (she is in Marketing as well). We’ve also just had our first child this year in May! We bought our first home, had our first child, and moved to the other side of the Bay (from SF to Walnut Creek) all in this year. Everything on paper seems to be going our way except for one thing: my career. I’ve just got promotion but I realized this industry (and salary) has got me in golden handcuffs. I find no satisfaction in working towards something that I find little to no excitement in. It has come to a point where I was and still am willing to take a massive pay cut to find a career that not only brings me joy, but fulfills me. With the birth of my daughter, this makes my decision that much more difficult. My one goal in life now is to provide for my wife and child. Which brings me to you guys. I found you guys during one of my many nights up “career” searching. I’ve played with the idea of becoming a Pilot on and off for about 5 years now- and every time it was stopped by “logic”. The amount of money it would cost to go into this field only to suffer the consequences for the next 3-5 years before making anywhere near what I was making scared the heck out of me. Now more so than ever. But enough is enough and my wife is supportive and awesome enough to let me explore this thought of taking it a step further. We talked about Sling Pilot Academy and fortunately for us, her parents live in Torrance. My wife, daughter, and I would most likely have to live with her parents through the duration of the academy. I am ready to unshackle these golden handcuffs and pursue a career that brings a deeper level of fulfillment and appreciation. Enough to sell our home, leave our 6 figure income, and move 400 miles all for the sake of belief. This, quite honestly, will only be possible with the help of this scholarship.

Flying has always been my dream. I have spent most of my life jumping from job to job and interest to interest, but flying has always been in the back of my mind. I am at an age now where it is time to just go for it if I want to have some semblance of a career in aviation. I took my first discovery flight last year and that just affirmed my adoration for being in the air. I am currently working and finishing a degree, but flying is the ultimate goal, however long that takes. I would of course love to be able to get started right away and things like this wonderful scholarship can really go a long way towards making that dream come true for a person like myself. I live fairly close to the sling academy and watch you guys on youtube/mojogrip mike religiously and your setup and your aircraft are fantastic. Regardless of anything I hope to attend your academy at some point. Keep up the great work! Thank you for offering options like this for the dreamers!

Discovering the wonderful world of aviation brought a new light to my life. I spent my early college years training for a job I surely knew I would dislike just so I could feel stable. Meeting the workers in the cyber security industry coming to my college to renew certificates proved me right. These people were all doing the same job with the exact same passion for it, absolutely none. This gave me the epiphany that even when I was stable and could pay for necessities without having to worry about money I would be dedicating around 30% of my life doing a job I would have no pride in. That’s when I decided I needed to find an industry with a community of people that love what they are doing. Where everyday they come to work they are in for a new adventure with unpredictable challenges and stories to tell at the end of the day. After researching different jobs I found the one, becoming a pilot. After changing my major and actually finding a subject that I was hungry to learn about I felt like a different person, someone with a drive and an actual passion. Someone who could be happy that they were about to spend a major portion of their life working a job. Since then I’ve been following various aviation communities, getting into flight sims, and even as far as listening to different audio books and watching videos on how to execute various flight maneuvers. After taking to the sky on my first discovery flight at my local airport I knew that this is what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. I have signed up for ground school at my local airport and have been saving every penny to pay for my flight training, but with the money I’m making it will take another 8 years on top of paying for college to afford the cost of a commercial licence. This scholarship would help me dedicate my time to getting flight time and paying for an instructor to make sure I can get my licence and ratings to become a corporate pilot and work this passionate and adventurous industry.