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"We are the protagonists of our stories called life, and there is no limit to how high we can fly."

PHD. MBA. MHS. Type rated on A350, A330, B777, B747-400, B747-200, B757, B767, B737, B727. International Airline Pilot / Author / Speaker. Dedicated to giving the gift of wings to anyone following their dreams. Supporting Aviation Safety through training, writing, and inspiration. Fighting for Aviation Safety and Airline Employee Advocacy. Safety Culture and SMS change agent.

Friday, March 20, 2020

Future Aviator

Friday's Fabulous Flyer!

 Francesca Keel

"My name is Francesca Keel, I am a junior at Meadowdale High School, and a first year student in The Museum of Flight’s Aeronautical Science Pathway. My goal is to earn my private pilot’s license before I graduate high school. After I graduate from high school, I plan on commissioning into the United States Air Force in order to fly as a fighter pilot."

This month I was honored with participating in the interview process to select 8 students, from a pool of 11 finalists, to receive fairly substantial scholarships. These students were all part of The Museum of Flight ASP program. From this group of finalists we awarded (5) $12,000 Frank “Sam” and Betty Houston Flight Training Scholarships, (1) $10,000 Alaska Airlines Flight Training Scholarship, and (2) $6,000 Benjamin J. Ellison Scholarships for students to get through solo, with the possibility of being awarded more to get their Private Pilot License. 

The selection process was a challenge because these students were all amazing. Francesca Keel was one of those amazing students. She took her first flight and sent me photos, and answered a few questions, too. 

What is ASP?

"The Museum of Flight’s Aeronautical Science Pathway (ASP) is a program for high school juniors and seniors who are interested in pursuing a career in the aviation industry. We meet Monday through Thursday during the school year, and earn both high school and college credits." 

Francesca makes this sound simple, but these students attend school all day and then they go to night school for the program.  In the process they have transferable credits to college and they learn everything aviation with like minded passionate students. But this program instills the love of aviation, teamwork, and provides focus and a direction for the future. And for 8 students who were recipients, this was the doorway to their pilot license. 

What Flying Means

"To me, flying is freedom. Getting up in the air for the first time made me realize how truly amazing the world of aviation is. I loved my intro flight and I look forward to my life as a pilot."

How This Scholarship 
Has Helped

"The Alaska Airlines Flight Training Scholarship has helped me by expanding my horizons in the aviation industry. I have been able to meet some incredible role models through my scholarship interview as well as further my passion for flight."

Francesca's Message: 

"Welcome all the opportunities that will be given to you. The world of aviation is a welcoming one, and it's a community that will present you with amazing opportunities to succeed in reaching your career goal."

One of the greatest opportunities I had during this selection process, besides meeting these students, was reading the essays. One of which was an essay about Bill Ayer. I learned so much more than I ever knew. Mostly how much this one individual has inspired so many students. I always thought of Bill Ayer as the former CEO of Alaska Airlines who gave the girls free flights on his days off. But his passion for aviation did not start with Alaska, or end there. Even after retirement he is continually giving back to the aviation community. Imagine a CEO who actually loves Aviation.

A Huge Thanks to 
Bill Ayer and Alaska Airlines 

For Making 
Dreams come true! 

$10,000 Alaska Airlines 
Flight Training Scholarship 

Students who are interested in 
earning credits for college 
and a chance to receive a scholarship for flying,

Check out 

Aeronautical Science Pathway Program

ASP Class Photo - ASP Class Photo

The Sky is Not a Limit
But a Journey

Enjoy the Journey
XO Karlene 


  1. Fabulous article of an amazing student. So happy to hear such wonderful news.

    Thanks, Karlene for sending me the link, as we loved reading such a wonderful, positive message on Francesca's Dreams and on this scholarship program. More good news like this article is what we love to hear and what should be made available to all to read, just as you have done.

    Thanks immensely, Dorothy & Don

    1. Thank you Dorothy and Don! The future of aviation helps us retain our history. She's an amazing young lady. So excited and she has so much passion. Very fun to see.


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