Two high school juniors take to the sky

Two Orcas high school juniors have been awarded an opportunity to affect their future. Orcas Christian High School juniors, Evan Kulper, and Nicholas Rivera, are each the recipient of a $4,000 scholarship from the island’s Airhawks Flying Club. The scholarships will be applied toward flight training and obtaining a private pilot’s license.

Since he announced to his mother at three years old that he “wuved engineers,” Kulper has been fascinated by how machinery works and is looking forward to learning more about the mechanical and electrical aspects of flying.

“Having the skill to know how to fly a plane – how it works and how it’s assembled – is an incredible opportunity,” he said.

Rivera credits his older brother who completed private pilot license training with help from AirHawks, with his interest in the program.

“I hung out with him when he went through his training and got to know the instructors. To see how he’s applied that training to his life has been an inspiration,” he said.

Rivera, who is interested in natural physics and natural science, is fascinated by the way airplanes fly.

“Unlike a helicopter, for instance, the shape of a plane almost compels it to fly. I have always loved playing with gadgets so having the ability to control something like a plane is incredible.”

Training for the young men will begin next month and consist of a variety of subjects including theory of flight, communications, the mechanics of an aircraft, airspace structure, navigation, cross-country flying, aircraft emergencies, federal flight regulations, and an introduction to instrument flying.Each will be required to complete a written test, and when cleared by their flight instructor, an oral examination and flight check by a Federal Designated Examiner. Throughout, they will receive support from the island’s aviation community.

Including Kulper and Rivera, Airhawks has awarded flight training scholarships to 25 local high school students.

“I never in my life thought a private pilot’s license would be a reality when we moved to this island,” Rivera offered. “I encourage everyone who is interested in flying to consider applying. It’s a terrific program.”

Those interested in the Airhawks Scholarship Program can learn more from a short video at