PELLSTON – Forrest Neff, a senior in the Aviation Science and Technology program held at Pellston Regional Airport, has been awarded an $11,000 flight training scholarship from local Chapter 1087 of the Experimental Aircraft Association.

Neff, of Harbor Springs, is a student at Crooked Tree High School who will graduate in early June. He has attended the aviation program, a Char-Em ISD Career and Technical Education class, this school year and developed a passion for flying, something that has run in his family through generations.

“Aviation runs in my family’s blood,” said Neff. “My grandfather, Mort Neff, was a pilot who flew around Michigan in search of stories for the Michigan Outdoors television program. My step-grandfather, Edward Mayne, bravely served as a pilot in World War II and was shot down twice. A family cousin, James Cameron, was a B-24 Liberator pilot who was also shot down during WWII. Receiving this scholarship provides invaluable support as I pursue my aviation goals.”

EAA chapter president Pete Aiello said this is the first year the local club participated in the Ray Aviation Scholarship, part of a national scholarship program that helps high school students seeking to pursue careers in aviation.

“Our five-member selection committee interviewed eight students, reviewed their applications and letters of recommendation, and made our selection,” said Aiello. “It was a remarkably rewarding experience for our chapter as we got the opportunity to meet some great young people in Duane Enos’ aviation class. We were very gratified by the experience and wish all of the students well.”

Aviation instructor Duane Enos said community support continues to lift students skyward to meet their goals.

“I am so blessed to have so much support from the local community, verbally and financially,” said Enos. “The local support is fast tracking the training of these future pilots. It’s giving them focus and putting them on the right path. Forrest is very dedicated to his training and I know he will succeed at whatever he sets his mind to. I look forward to flying with him when he gets his commercial license!”

In accepting the award, Neff said, “It’s an amazing opportunity. It’s driving me harder to get my private pilot license.”

After graduation, Neff said he plans to “Fly, fly, fly!” This fall he will attend North Central Michigan College in Petoskey for a year, then transfer to Northwestern Michigan College’s aviation program in Traverse City.

About the EAA: EAA Chapter 1087 based in Harbor Springs is a group of local pilots who belong to the Experimental Aircraft Association. Each year, the group conducts several “Young Eagles” programs that give hundreds of kids the opportunity to take their first flight in a small airplane owned and flown by a chapter member. Flights take place at the Harbor Springs, Boyne City, Pellston and Mackinac Island airports.

About the Aviation Science and Technology program: Char-Em ISD offers 20 different Career and Technical Education programs throughout Charlevoix, Emmet and northern Antrim County high schools. The Aviation program is hosted by Alanson Public Schools and housed at Pellston Regional Airport. All career tech classes are open to any student, in any Char-Em ISD district. Students can ask their high school counselor how to enroll. Complete CTE program information is available online at www.charemisdcareertech.org

About Crooked Tree High School: Crooked Tree High School is a Char-Em ISD operated alternative high school program located in Harbor Springs. It was founded in 1998 to provide an alternative option for high school students to earn their diploma. Crooked Tree was named the Michigan Alternative High School of the Year by the Michigan Alternative Education Organization for 2024. It is open to any high school student in Charlevoix, Emmet and northern Antrim Counties. More information: www.charemisd.org

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