SALINA — Twenty-three Kansas State University Salina professional pilot students earned ratings this summer after receiving scholarships through support from the Connor Burton Aviation Foundation and friends. The 23 scholarships total more than $70,000.
“The scholarships helped keep the students in the air and working on ratings so that they didn’t fall behind during the summer,” said Mark Friesen, director of development for K-State Salina. “If it weren’t for this generous gift, most of these students wouldn’t have flown between the spring and fall semesters.”
“The scholarship is really helped me out this summer,” said Chelsea McChesney, senior in professional pilot, Winfield, Kan. “I was really worried about how I was going to be able to handle the financial aspect of working on my CFII and my multi-engine rating this summer. I thought I was going to have to take out a pretty big loan to cover it.”
Kurt Barnhart, head of K-State’s aviation department, noticed a significant increase in the number of students flying this summer.
“We usually are down in flight hours over the summer months, but this year you could hardly tell that the spring semester had ended,” he said. “We had a lot more students working on ratings this summer than I can remember having before.”
“The purpose of the Burton Foundation is to keep students flying so that they can accomplish their dreams,” said Jan Burton, chief advocate of the Connor Burton Aviation Foundation. “Helping these 23 students focus on earning their ratings rather than how they are going to pay for their flight time exemplifies what the foundation is about.”