Celebrating Our 150th Private Pilot!

Hayden after his check ride

The James C. Ray Scholarship Program just celebrated its 150th Private Pilot. Hayden Gomez completed his Private Pilot check ride on August 13, 2022, on the day of his 18th birthday. A graduate of Central Florida Aerospace Academy in May of 2022, Gomez’s plans are to attend Jacksonville University to pursue a degree in Aviation Management and Flight Operations with the goal to become an airline pilot in the future.

Hayden after his first solo

Now as a Private Pilot, Hayden has some advice for those pursuing their pilot’s license saying, “Make sure you study anything and everything you can, know all of your ground training before you start doing the practical portion of flying in the air. In order, to succeed you need to figure out what you are planning on the ground first before applying it into the air.” With his experience volunteering at the SUN ‘n FUN Aerospace Expo over the last 4 years and winning the STRATOS essay contest, Hayden says, “For some – start getting involved with an airport, get yourself out there, expose yourself to that element of flying.”

Hayden started his flight training in early 2021 at Legends Aviation Academy at Lakeland Linder International Airport. He completed his first solo in July of 2021 in a Cessna 172 and with 63 hours of flight experience, he completed his check ride in the Tecnam P2008.

Support The Mission

The mission of the Aerospace Center for Excellence (ACE) is to “Engage, Educate, and Accelerate the Next Generation of Aerospace Professionals. The SUN ‘n FUN Aerospace Expo and dozens of other events year-round produce the majority of the revenue that goes into supporting this mission. By attending our events, you are helping us deliver top-quality, industry-leading STEM education and scholarship programs to thousands of young men and women each year. The opportunities that ACE provides give young people a competitive edge as they navigate their educational journey that can ultimately lead to a rewarding career in the world’s incredibly diverse and rapidly growing aerospace industry. You can help! Please click the links below to explore how you can share your knowledge and expertise as a volunteer in over 3500 available positions, become a patron of the Florida Air Museum, or donate to assist us financially. Regardless of how you assist, whether by attending our events, visiting the museum or donating financially, we sincerely appreciate your support!

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