All in the Family – Michael Wilhelm’s Education Takes Flight with High School Senior Merit Scholarship
Michael Wilhelm can’t really remember a point in time when aviation wasn’t a huge part of his life. The 18-year-old even has a hangar and landing strip on his family’s Gettysburg, Pa. farm. Michael’s grandfather learned how to fly as a young Marine during the Korean War, and his father is a contract pilot who flies business aircraft in the esteemed Bombardier Global 6000. Michael recalls one defining “Career Day” moment in grade school when his father dropped him off on the school’s front lawn in a helicopter. And he laughs a bit as he also proudly claims that his mother achieved her private pilot’s license while nine months pregnant with his sister. Flying is in his blood.
So it wasn’t really a matter of if Michael would apply to flight academies to pursue his lifelong dream of becoming a pilot, but where he’d set his sights, and in order to determine the best place for his flight education, he asked the best qualified people he knew.
“My Dad and I began asking around to various airline recruiters we know to inquire about where they would send their children if they had the option or where they would go themselves if they could do it all over again,” Jake recalls. “The majority of them brought up Aerosim Flight Academy in Florida, so I knew we had to check it out. I came down to take a tour and registered to start classes within hours.”
Given his family history, Michael understands the critical importance of learning from one of the best programs in the country. And he was willing to take out student loans to pay for that caliber of education. However, upon the encouragement of his Admissions Officer, he decided to pursue a $35,000 merit scholarship being offered by Aerosim. He worked long and hard to pull together a comprehensive application packet that conveyed his love for aviation, commitment to the program, and evidence that he’ll put in the time and effort needed to achieve his dreams. He was driving his younger brother home from a soccer game when he got the call from Aerosim that he had been selected for a scholarship.
“I was trying to contain my excitement and not drive us off the road,” he recounted. “Once we got home, I allowed myself to really take it in and celebrate. As you might expect, I was ecstatic.”
This is the first year that Aerosim Flight Academy has offered the High School Senior Merit Scholarship program, which is the first of its kind in the pilot training industry. The scholarship program is designed to offer financial assistance to qualified individuals passionate about a career in aviation. Jake is one of two recipients who have been selected to receive the $35,000 toward tuition for flight training at Aerosim Flight Academy.
“Being awarded this scholarship takes a massive load off my shoulders. Knowing that I can graduate and begin to pursue my dream of becoming a pilot and travelling the world without having a ton of student loan debt hanging over me, it just helps give me a great kick-start to my career.”