Scholarship Spotlight: Matt Atkins

Christopher Matthew “Matt” Atkins, 17, Senior, Central Florida Aerospace Academy, is SUN ‘n FUN’s 50th teen pilot!

SUN ‘n FUN provided Matt with a hybrid scholarship that allowed him to receive glider training and then after soloing in a glider, work on a private pilot’s certificate.

His first solo was on March 1, 2015 in a Grob G 103. It took him 8.6 hours of flight to complete. He completed his SEL solo on August 6, 2015 in a Cherokee 140, which took 10.6 hours to complete. He passed a check ride on June 18, 2016, having just turned 17 on June 3.

Meet this outstanding young man: Matt Atkins Video

Matt is looking forward to his senior year at CFAA. He is involved in the Air Force Jr. ROTC program and serves in a leadership position.

He plans to pursue a career in aviation. “I would love to receive a flying job in the United States Air Force,” he said. “My top three dream planes in the Air Force are the following: the KC-135, C-130, and the C-5 Galaxy.” At 6’5“, Matt is too tall for fighter jets but he would love to fly what his mother calls “the big boy planes.” He would also consider a career flying in the corporate world.

He plans to obtain a degree in Airport Management while attending the flight program at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. “I love management, business, and flying so I believe that Airport Director will be a good backup plan to my flying aspirations.”

Matt looks forward to volunteering every year during the Fly-In, as CFAA students in good standing are permitted to do. “My privilege of being able to volunteer during that week has given me many opportunities to network with many influential people in the aviation world,” he said.

Matt was introduced to aviation at a very young age. “My father would take me to our remote control flying club as a baby,” he explained. “I actually began to start learning how to fly RC planes at the age of 5 and soloed at the age of 7. These experiences made me very passionate about flying and I knew at a young age I wanted to be in the sky reaching my limits.”

His earliest memory of the SUN ‘n FUN Fly-In was “standing in front of the announcer booth, watching the Thunderbirds fly as a young boy and listening to the National Anthem play,” he recalled. “I was filled with pride of the great nation we live in and I knew that I wanted to fly and make an impact in the world in some shape or form.”

Matt thanks James C. Ray, family, friends, and SUN ‘n FUN staff for their support.

Congratulations, Matt, our 50th teen pilot!

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