Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University-Prescott Campus student Brett Ahola has been awarded the 2016 MD 500 Transition Training Scholarship by MD Helicopters Inc. The unique training opportunity has a value of approximately $10,000.
The MD 500 is an advanced, turbine-powered helicopter that most students are not yet qualified to fly. The week-long, one-on-one training course is held at the MD Helicopters global headquarters and production facility in Mesa, Ariz. There, students learn helicopter systems, emergency procedures and how to fly the aircraft.
“This being my last semester at Embry-Riddle, I am overjoyed and so appreciative toward MD Helicopters for offering such an amazing and valuable experience,” said Ahola. “Completing the transition course will be a huge leg up for my future within the industry.”
Ahola knew he wanted to be a helicopter pilot at a very young age after watching a Huey pull water out of a river near his home in Lotus, Calif., to fight a nearby fire. For the past three and a half years, Ahola has been a full-time student at Embry-Riddle while flying with Universal Helicopters, and is now a CFI and CFII-rated pilot with 850 hours in helicopters. His career goal is to work for an air ambulance service back in Northern California.
In addition to a current or impending Certified Flight Instructor (CFI) rating, the scholarship applicants needed a minimum grade point average of 3.0, a first or second class FAA medical certificate, two letters of recommendation and an essay describing the importance of a CFI in the helicopter industry.
“With nine applicants, this year’s decision proved to be a very difficult one,” said MD Helicopters Chief Pilot Jay Wigginton. “Reviewing each application revealed that Embry-Riddle is working with a very talented group of young aviators. I am sure Embry-Riddle is as proud of each student that applied for the scholarship as we are.”
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