Fulton flight scholarship to be presented at pancake breakfast

Austin Latham, one of the 2012 recipients of the Kingdom Pilots Association’s Sam Robertson Scholarship, displays his certificate after his first solo flight on May 6. The formal presentation of the 2013 Sam Robertson Scholarship recipients will take place at 9 a.m. Saturday during the KPA’s annual fly-in pancake breakfast fundraiser at the airport.

Austin Latham, one of the 2012 recipients of the Kingdom Pilots Association’s Sam Robertson Scholarship, displays his certificate after his first solo flight on May 6. The formal presentation of the 2013 Sam Robertson Scholarship recipients will take place at 9 a.m. Saturday during the KPA’s annual fly-in pancake breakfast fundraiser at the airport.

This Saturday, during the Kingdom Pilot’s Association 23rd Annual Fly-In Pancake Breakfast at 9 a.m., two teens will be presented with the Sam Robertson Memorial Scholarship.

The scholarship, named for its first recipient, allows recipients to attend flight school and receive his or her pilot’s license through the Fulton Flying Service. Half of the scholarship is funded by the Fulton Flying Service, and the other half is funded by the Kingdom Pilot’s Association. Traditionally, two scholarships are given each year.

The scholarship was created 13 years ago, and is named in memory of Robertson, who died early in his life in England several years ago.

“The point is to inspire people to go into the field of aviation,” said Travis St. John, the owner of Fulton Flying Service.

Applicants for the scholarship must be at least 16 years old and must submit an application and write an essay about why they want to learn how to fly. The group that decides which applicant to select ideally searches for a junior in high school and a Fulton local, but branches out to older applicants and those outside the community on a regularly. They also look for students that have good grades, but aren’t overly involved in school activities already. Students must provide recommendations from teachers.

“One of the pitfalls we’ve had in the past is students that don’t have time because they’re already involved in things like football practice,” St. John said. “We want someone who’s going to focus in on flying.”

One of last year’s scholarship recipients, Austin Latham, who recently received his pilot’s license, will be attending the breakfast to offer words of congratulation to this year’s winners.

“It was a really awesome program,” Latham said. “It was a really good experience. The scholarship let me following my dream of flying.”

Latham had to work hard to complete the program and see it through to the end — something the group that selects the scholarship winners looks at very closely.

“You have to kind of teach yourself,” he said. “You can’t just show up and learn it. You have to read the book at home and help yourself.”

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