Ethan Marcum, 2016 Blake Chapman Flight Scholarship Recipient
By: Julia Tellman
This article was originally published in the November 10, 2016 issue of the Teton Valley News and is published here with permission. The Teton Valley Blake Chapman Flight Scholarship Fund and the scholarship application process are managed by the Community Foundation of Teton Valley.
Teton Valley’s newest private pilot is only four months out of high school.
Ethan Marcum earned his license on Oct. 16. He was this year’s recipient of the Blake Chapman Memorial Scholarship, which provides students with the full cost of instruction and materials, around $8,500.
The scholarship is provided by the local chapter of the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) and is enabled with funds from the Tin Cup Challenge and Old Bill’s Fun Run.
The EAA collects applications from both Teton Valley and Jackson students and begins the interview process in early spring. The selection committee emphasizes that flight training is a very demanding activity.
EAA chapter secretary Jim Jackson said they ask applicants, “Do you really want to do this? Here’s what’s involved…It’s not like getting your license for a truck or bus.”
A future pilot needs to commit at least an hour a day over four months to flight school, so it’s hard for students to hold a job or go on vacation during training.
Marcum spent significant time in ground school learning about the mechanics of flight, required equipment, meteorology, and navigation. He had to be completely healthy to fly; he received a medical examination by a certified surgeon. At the end of ground school, Marcum took the challenging Federal Aviation Administration ground test.
Marcum also received flight instruction from Teton Aviation Center pilot Colleen Schooley. He learned about thorough pre-flight inspections, weather conditions, aircraft functions, safe takeoffs and landings, and situational awareness. Pilots often need 60 hours of training but Marcum did it in 40.
“He was really on the ball,” said Jackson.
Marcum just left for his LDS mission to Peru. When he returns in two years he plans to enroll in the aviation program at Idaho State University.
“We like to see this,” said Jackson. “Instead of a hobby, turn it into a profession.”
Every field of professional flight has its own extensive training.
“You don’t just come out of college and become a 747 pilot,” said Jackson, speaking with 30 years of pilot experience.
Jackson is a former high school shop teacher who taught students how to build airplanes. He has built over 10 airplanes by hand and hopes to start an aviation program at the local high school. He is on the Driggs-Reed Memorial Airport board and sees in the airport great potential and room for growth.
Marcum earned his pilot license because he had access to a great community resource like the airport, a generous scholarship made available by a local nonprofit, and through his own hard work.
The 2017 Blake Chapman Flight Scholarship will be accepting applications from Friday, December 16, 2016 to Friday, March 3, 2017. Applications must be received by 5pm on Friday, March 3, 2017. For more information, CLICK HERE. For more information on the Community Foundation of Teton Valley’s scholarship fund opportunities, please call Carrie Mowrey, executive director, at 208.354.0230 or email [email protected].
In Ethan’s words: