Browsing articles in "Scholarship Recipients"

Patrick McElligot

Jun 25, 2013   //   by admin   //   Scholarship Recipients  //  No Comments

Junior in Professional Pilot

Junction City, KS

Patrick McElligot was always fascinated with aviation and his grandmother has always supported him.

“We would go to MHK and watch the planes come in all the time. And she’s the one who arranged my first flight. When I was a sophomore I was in a play at the community theatre and one of the other cast members’ husband was a retired TWA captain and Air Force pilot. One day, Grandma picked me up for lunch but instead she took me to the airport for a ride in his Cessna 414.”

So it’s no surprise the junior drives 96 miles a day to attend classes in Salina while living in Junction City to take care of his biggest supporter. On top of that, he holds three part-time jobs: one as a math tutor on campus, one at a bank, and one at Jim Clark Auto Center.

His job at the car dealership has led to the opportunity to share the excitement he felt during his first flight with others.

“The owner is a member of EAA (Experimental Aircraft Association) Chapter 1364. The EAA does the Young Eagles program, which gives kids the chance to fly in a general aviation airplane. I get to use Mr. Clark’s Bonanza for the discovery flights, which are free for the kids and their parents can ride along.”

“I love being a Young Eagles pilot! When the nose comes up and I say, ‘You’re not touching the ground anymore,’ they are always amazed.”

The job also gives him other opportunities to fly.

“One time I was flying from Junction City to Daytona Beach, Fla., for work. It was my first flight in instrument conditions. At first it was a little scary, but then I remembered I had a job to do and I knew how to do it.”

While Patrick credits his grandmother, Connie Lossman, with giving him the motivation to pursue his goal of becoming an airline pilot, he credits the Burton Aviation Foundation and it’s chief supporter, Jan Burton, with making it possible to know what to do in that situation.

“The Burton Aviation Foundation made it possible for me to get my private and instrument. I’m up to my commercial instrument rating and being a Burton Scholar will help me finish my multi-engine rating and start working on my CFI.”

Shane Richardson

Jun 25, 2013   //   by admin   //   Scholarship Recipients  //  No Comments

Junior in Kansas State University Salina’s Professional Pilot program

Albuquerque, NM

Earning a paycheck for his wanderlust seemed like a good idea to Shane Richardson. And the best way to do that, he figured, was to become a pilot.

“The idea of getting paid to travel, which I love to do, appealed to me. It’s great being able to go somewhere fast and see the world from a different perspective. And I really like staying in hotels.”

As one may expect, Shane took the scenic route to K-State, starting out at Utah Valley University and making a stop at the University of New Mexico before finding his way to Kansas.

“A friend of mine knew the head of the aviation maintenance program here, so I came to visit to see what they had to offer and decided to stay.”

“The quality of this program is amazing. The fleet is well-maintained and it’s big enough to provide flexibility to the students allowing them to fly when they want.”

When he’s not flying, Shane is the safety officer for Flight Team, the historian for Women In Aviation, and a member of Alpha Eta Rho, all while working on his commercial rating and focusing on other classes.

“My dream job is to be a captain at Southwest Airlines or fly mid-size to large private aircraft for a company like NetJets. Being selected as a Burton Scholar is going to help me finish my commercial rating and start on my CFI, getting me closer to that dream job.”

Ben Taylor

Jun 25, 2013   //   by admin   //   Scholarship Recipients  //  No Comments

Junior in Kansas State University Salina’s Professional Pilot program

Wichita, KS

A childhood surrounded by aviation inspired Benjamin Taylor to become a pilot.

“I grew up close to McConnell Air Force Base so I was always watching fighters fly into the base. And my dad worked at Boeing for 27 years, so I was always there for company events and got to know the officers.”

But it wasn’t until he started K-State Salina’s professional pilot program that he had the chance to fly.

“I wanted a school with a ROTC program and the professionalism and experience of the instructors impressed me.”

The ROTC Program drew him in but it was a K-State Salina alum that led him to the reserve squadron in Wichita. Ben plans to join the Air Force Reserves as an officer in the 18th Refueling Squadron after graduation.

Even though he lives in Salina, he remains an active volunteer with the Knights of Columbus at his church in Wichita and also donates blood as often as he can.

Ben’s future plans also include another kind of donating, giving back to the Burton Aviation Foundation.

“The financial need is always looming in the background and being a Burton Scholar helps take that pressure off so I can focus on studying and flying. I hope to be able to give other students that same kind of help in the future.”

Ben doesn’t take the summer off. Instead he spends those months working, taking classes, and flying. But that doesn’t mean he doesn’t get to have fun.

“Last summer I took my dad and my friend flying. I picked them up at Jabara Airport in Wichita and we flew to Ponca City, Okla., at night. It was the first time my dad had ever flown with me. And when we landed back in Wichita, my friend told me it was the first time he had ever been in a plane. It was really great to share that with both of them at the same time.”

“Flying is such a rewarding experience but it’s also humbling. The more I learn the less I seem to know.”

One opportunity to learn came from Cirrus training through the Foundation.

“I loved everything about that plane. The glass cockpit, the sidestick instead of the yoke, the turbo engine. It even has its own parachute.”

Rusty Weckworth

Dec 20, 2012   //   by admin   //   Scholarship Recipients  //  No Comments

Favorite part of flying: Right after takeoff. I watch as the ground gets farther and farther away like a roller coaster as you defy gravity.

Rusty Weckwerth had never considered being a pilot. In fact, he was afraid to fly. But a childhood spent watching planes take off and land at the nearby airport had left an impression.

“I remember thinking about what I wanted to do after high school. I didn’t really know what kind of job I wanted, all I knew was I had to enjoy it since I’d be doing it for the rest of my life. The idea just popped into my head to be a pilot. It seemed like it’d be fun so I went for it and I’m glad I did.”

Now a junior in Kansas State University Salina’s professional pilot program and a certified flight instructor, Rusty has conquered his fear of flying.

“Now it’s just like a roller coaster ride and there’s nothing to be afraid of.”

He remembers that first roller coaster ride well.

“My first flight was in September. September 14, 2010 to be exact. The classroom had a wonderful view from 6,500 feet.”

The Connor Burton Aviation Foundation played in important role in taking Rusty from his first flight to making his dream of becoming a CFI a reality.

“I really wanted to be a CFI and that check ride is so stressful, even though you really learn a lot along the way. I dedicated my whole summer towards passing that check ride and when the day came and I passed, it was like a 1,000 bricks were thrown off my shoulders. It was the best feeling ever but I couldn’t have done it with the Burton Foundation. I honestly wouldn’t be anywhere near where I am today without this scholarship.”

“College is stressful enough without having to worry about how to pay for it. The Burton Scholarship lets me not worry about how I’m going to pay for my ratings and instead concentrate on doing the best I can in the classroom and the cockpit.”

That success will help him achieve his dream job of being a corporate pilot.

“I’d love to fly a jet such as a Lear or Citation in Hawaii. That would be awesome.”

Travis Balthazor

Dec 20, 2012   //   by admin   //   Scholarship Recipients  //  No Comments

Favorite aviation memory: Flying home after receiving my Certified Flight Instructor certificate. It was a great feeling of accomplishment!

“Being a young kid living on a farm, looking up at the planes in the sky always peaked my interest. When we were visiting family in the city everybody would want to go to the park or bowling but I wanted to go to the airport to watch the planes.”

Travis Balthazor’s passion will soon turn into a career. The 23-year-old senior from Palco, Kan., is majoring in professional pilot and minoring in aviation safety at Kansas State University Salina.

“I’m fortunate that one of the top aviation schools in the country was so close to home. I really do love it here. The instructors all know you by name and you can really tell they want to further you in your career to become a pilot.”

But going after his dream hasn’t been easy.

“I work hard for my grades and I’m proud of them but working three jobs to help fund this dream does directly affect my grades as it takes up a lot of my time and deters my focus from school. The Burton Scholarship will definitely give me the opportunity to focus a little more on my classes.”

Travis is a resident assistant in K-State Salina’s residence halls, a waiter at Red Lobster, and a certified flight instructor for the university’s aviation program. He’s also involved in Women in Aviation and Alpha Eta Rho, an aviation fraternity.

In addition to all of that, he found time to travel to Washington, D.C. to donate healthy stem cells to a complete stranger, a 39-year-old woman with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

“I was able to do normal activities within hours but was highly anemic, which is normal. Running and physical activities took about three days and I was back to flying in one week.”

Travis is hoping his love of flying is contagious but he’s not sure what he wants his career to be.

“I love instructing. Giving students the same opportunity that I got makes me very happy. But I really just want to be a pilot! Flying a plane is all I want to do. Where or for whom is something I still have to figure out.”

James Schreiner

Oct 17, 2012   //   by admin   //   Scholarship Recipients  //  No Comments

James Schreiner, a Wakeeney, KS native, is pursuing a Professional Pilot degree at Kansas State. Several encounters with aviation in his middle and high school years pushed him into chasing a pilot career.

His first experience was in 8th grade when an Eagle Med helicopter landed at his school for a safety demonstration. “After talking with the pilot I thought it would be a very fun job but I also thought it wasn’t possible for a kid from a small town to become a pilot.”

That view began to change in his following high school years. After another helicopter, this time a Black Hawk, visited his school for National Drug Free Week, James started to look into becoming a pilot.

In his search, he discovered a summer aviation camp for high school students hosted by the Cosmosphere in Hutchinson, KS. “It was a 5 day camp where I got to have some actual flight time in a Cessna 172. This was the first time I had ever been in an airplane. After completing this week of camp, I realized it was actually possible to make a career out of flying.”

Deciding on Kansas State, James is now working on a Commercial pilot rating while working part time. His favorite aviation experience so far was flying back home and showing his family what he is accomplishing. After he graduates, he plans to pursue a career as a corporate or medical evacuation pilot.

His favorite part of flying: “When flying, you’re above the world focused on the task at hand and nothing else other than flying seems to matter.  It is almost like you leave everything else behind once the aircraft becomes airborne.”

Austin Downs

Aug 15, 2011   //   by admin   //   Scholarship Recipients  //  No Comments

Austin Downs, a junior in K-State Salina’s professional pilot program from Liberal, Kan., has known since he was very young that he would be a pilot.

His grandfather was a pilot and Austin loved to fly with him. “When I was flying with grandpa I could sit in right seat but I wasn’t allowed to touch anything. He was all about safety. One time I got into a lot of trouble because I touched the yoke when he was landing.”

His grandfather owned an FBO in Liberal and during high school Austin worked line service and cleaned planes.

“I worked the Sunday afternoon shift when my bosses would come fly their toys. Sometimes they’d take me up with them. One of my former bosses took me up in his Polish Iskra fighter. His goal was to do acrobatics until I threw up. He lost.”

The part-time job also provided another opportunity. “I would talk with the CFIs a lot. They shared their books and their knowledge. I got through my private rating pretty quickly because I already knew a lot of what you learn in ground school.

Austin has just over 100 hours of flight time and is working on his instrument rating.

“I was working on my instrument and ran out of money right before my Stage 2 progress check, so I’ve had to start over on it. With the Burton Scholarship I will be able to reach my instrument by the end of the semester.”

In addition to classes, Austin works 25-30 hours a week as assistant manager at O’Reilly Autoparts and serves as vice president and chief justice of the judicial board of Phi Delta Theta.

To make his education more affordable, he took most of his general education classes at Seward County Community College during his freshman year and transferred to K-State for his sophomore year. “As a resident of Seward County, I only had to pay for student activity fees. Since I didn’t have to pay tuition I was able to save up money for flying.”

While balancing a job, classes, and flying isn’t easy, Austin knows he’s working towards his dream.

“When I first start my career I want to do something adventurous, like fly freight in Alaska or a fly for a small airline in South America. Then I’ll probably settle down and earn my A&P. Eventually I want to own an FBO.”

“It’s hard to put into words how much this scholarship means to me. It’s helping me complete my goals and moving me closer to making my lifelong dream a reality.”

Brycen Scholz

Aug 15, 2011   //   by admin   //   Scholarship Recipients  //  No Comments

Brycen Scholz, a junior in K-State Salina’s professional program from Atchison, Kan., has been around aviation all his life. He grew up close to the airport in Amelia Earhart’s hometown and his father, uncle, and grandfather all are hobby pilots.

His earliest aviation memory is of a flight he took in his dad and uncle’s bi-plane at the age of 5.

“They were doing fun laps and acrobatics. I was scared and crying and my dad said ‘let’s get this kid out of the plane so we can do some real flying.’”

Brycen’s career plans include some “real flying.” His goal is to be a pilot for the Air Force Thunderbirds’ acrobatic team. He is currently a member of the Air Force ROTC.

He is also a member of Phi Delta Theta and serves as the resident assistant and mentor for the Greek floor in the residence halls. In 2010 he competed with K-State’s Flight Team at the regional SAFECON competition, participating in the message drop and aircraft recognition events.

Brycen began accumulating flight hours as a freshman. He has 152 hours of flight time in the Cessna Skyhawk 172 and takes pride in making his landings as smooth as possible.

“The Burton scholarship will help me get the flight hours I need to earn my commercial rating and will also provide flight time in the Bonanza. This is a great opportunity. I have two older sisters in college so my family really appreciates the help with my flight costs.”

Zachariah Powell

Aug 15, 2010   //   by admin   //   Scholarship Recipients  //  No Comments

Scholarship Recipient Date: August 15, 2010

Were it not for the Burton Scholarship he received, Zachariah Powell would never have been able to earn his multiengine instructor rating.

The senior in professional pilot from Colorado Springs, Colo., wants to enter the Air Force Reserve or Air National Guard after he graduates and “then hopefully work in unmanned aircraft systems somewhere,” but Zach hasn’t always wanted to make a career out of flying.

He earned his private pilot license at 17. “I got it before I had my driver’s license. My dad wanted me to have it.”

Zach grew up in the aviation industry. His parents ran an airport in Memphis, then purchased a flight school in Colorado that they eventually turned into an FBO. But when it came time to go to college, “I wanted to pursue something other than aviation.”

He head to the University of Colorado to major in nursing, taking a break from flying.

Eventually, though, the sky called him back. “I started to get back into flying again and decided to make a change. I had too many distractions in Colorado.”

He enrolled in Kansas State University’s aviation program in 2008 and since then has gotten involved on campus.

He led K-State’s Flight Team to a second place finish at their regional competition and, as coach, is preparing the team for the national competition in May.

Zach place in short-field landing, second in top pilot, second in aircraft preflight inspection, fourth in top-scoring contestant, fourth in top-scoring male contestant, fourth in power-off landing, seventh in message drop and 12th in navigation at the regional competition.

“It’s fun to compete and apply the skills we’ve learned. Pilots are competitive by nature, so trying to beat them makes you a better pilot, especially because our competitions focus on safety in the air and on the ground.”

He is minoring in aviation safety.

Zach is learning to navigate in the sky while standing on the ground through classes in unmanned aircraft systems. He plans to add the UAS option to his bachelor’s degree in professional pilot.

“I wanted to broaden my scope and be more marketable since it looks like the future of the industry is in unmanned systems.”

As Zach prepares for his future, he is certain of one thing: he will have a lot more opportunities because of the Burton Foundation.

Sarah Wildman

Aug 15, 2010   //   by admin   //   Scholarship Recipients  //  No Comments

Scholarship Recipient Date: August 15, 2010

Sarah Wildman has known she’s wanted to be a pilot since she was 10 but she hadn’t considered doing it professionally until she was 14 when a church elder took her up in his Cessna 150.

“I found out my dad and several family members had been pilots and that’s what got me interested in aviation.”

When she started looking at collegiate aviation programs, Kansas State University rose quickly to the top of her list.

“I liked the K-State Salina campus and the smaller size. Everyone was really friendly. Troy Brockway joined us on our campus tour. His nametag said assistant chief flight instructor and it was impressive that he would take the time to talk to us.”

The senior from South Charleston, Ohio, has now earned her Certified Flight Instructor Instrument rating and is using her Burton Scholarship to earn her Multiengine Instructor rating and she has taken several trips with Troy in the university’s King Air and CitationJet.

“I love flying the King Air; it’s a nice plane and it’s an amazing experience for students.”

On the other end of the spectrum, Sarah also does glider towing with a Cessna 172. “That’s a whole different kind of flying. It’s probably the second most difficult flying I’ve done, other than flying the glider.”

When she isn’t flying or teaching others to fly, Sarah is reading or doing something with the Civil Air Patrol.

A member of the Civil Air Patrol since 2006, she has taught at the Civil Air Patrol National Flight Academy, is the Kansas Wing Safety Officer, and attended National Blue Beret at AirVenture Oshkosh, the world’s largest airshow, in 2009 and 2010.

“I was a cadet administration officer, so I was support staff. But I still did everything the other cadets did when I wasn’t helping with paperwork. We acted as flight marshallers, helped at the Ultralight runway, searched for aircraft that were reported overdue, and a variety of other assignments. I believe it is the best way to experience AirVenture.”

When she graduates in May, she hopes to intern at Flight Safety and then to go into corporate aviation. “I’m attracted to smaller companies because I think there is more variety in the locations and the flying opportunities offered.”

Sarah appreciates the Burton Foundation’s willingness to work with students to help them achieve their professional goals. “They have the students’ best interests in mind and want us to use the money in the way that will help us the most. It’s nice that they recognize that seniors need help, too.”

“I chose K-State for the transportation co-pilot program and because of the campus size. I liked the opportunity to go to a big-name university with a small campus where you can get to know your professors and other students.”