Interstate Scholarship

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Past Winners
2018 Winner: Marshall Taylor

My name is Marshall Taylor and I live in Lewiston, ID. I am married and have two young children. I am the production manager at a machine shop in Orofino. I have always had an interest in mechanical things and I enjoy a healthy challenge, airplanes and flying fit into both categories. I am intrigued by both the gravity defying physics of flight as well as the marvel of the mechanical designs of each fascinating flying machine. I have always been drawn to aerospace and, like many others who dream of flight, I have always instinctively scoured the sky every time I hear the sound of a plane sailing overhead.

I ended up pursuing a career in manufacturing, so even though the desire to fly never left me I knew the reality of my dream come true would come later rather than sooner. With the support and encouragement of my wife I began my flight training in January 2017 and accomplished my private pilot checkride on January 15th, 2018. It took some sacrifices on behalf of my family but I was determined to finish what I started. I now enjoy sharing my passion and privilege as often as I can.

My desire is to combine my passion for flying with my manufacturing experience. There is a huge presence of aviation manufacturing in Idaho and the Pacific Northwest, I see an amazing opportunity to provide services and components to support these aerospace companies. By continuing in my flight training journey, I will not only become a safer pilot but I will also be able to better serve and understand my customer’s needs. Like starting a business, flying is a large investment of time and money but I believe both have great rewards.

I would like to express my sincere gratitude toward the IAA and Inter-State Aviation for your dedication to aviation and for helping me achieve my goals. This scholarship will allow me to continue on to my instrument rating. It will also bring more opportunities to create an aviation manufacturing business rooted here in the Pacific Northwest. I am thankful to be a part of a great community of aviators that I have come to realize are so generous and willing to help others, not only fellow pilots, but they are also committed to serving non-aviators and protecting the great place we live.

UPDATE: I want to thank you once again for the generous scholarship that I received last year. The scholarship the IAA awarded me has given me an excellent start to my instrument training. I am now well into my training and it has been quite exciting. I enjoy the level of precision that it demands as well as the organization needed to execute an instrument flight. Earlier this year I passed my instrument written exam with a 97%. I have a long cross country and checkride prep to look forward to. I still need to acquire more instrument hours before I am eligible to take the practical test but I am excited to spend time with some seasoned pilots that will serve as my safety pilot. Although the scholarship funds were quickly expended and there is still a financial gap ahead, I am still determined as ever to complete the instrument rating on my way to obtaining a commercial rating. I am thrilled to have the privilege to fly and be among some of the most generous people there could be. I thoroughly enjoy the comradery and the willingness of others to share their flying wisdom and experiences.    Sincerely, Marshall Taylor

2018 Winner: Ryan Turner

When I was a teenager I boarded a small bush plane and departed out of Cascade, ID for a lesser known dirt strip called Pistol Creek on the Middle Fork of The Salmon River. The experience of gaining access to territory unreached by roads surrounded and protected by raw and rugged terrain will stick with even the youngest of those who adventure deep into the Wonderland. It felt like Mars but with snow capped mountains of thunder, tall mystic trees and rivers full of silver flashing fish.

Many associated flying with freedom; it seems to be the go-to term but I prefer to say that flying is romance. For it is romance that one feels when we access the greatest place of them all which I call the Wonderland. The Wonderland of the living sky, the Wonderland of lands uninhabited and the Wonderland that is congregating with people loved and would not otherwise see. 

I reaccessed Idaho and aviation in the Fall of 2014. I arrived for the purpose of learning to fly and to reconnect with experiences still resonating from the teen years visit. I did a discovery flight with Ken Larson at KSZT, later soloed, earned my private certificate and I kept going. Too much more to see, too much more to do, too much more to share. As of current I am an instrument rated commercial pilot preparing for a multi engine check ride with high altitude jet dreams.

Yesterday, a cold and sunny December day of magic, I sat right seat in a Citation M2, departed Sandpoint, climbed to 39,000′ and watched Northwest America underneath my wings. The town of Lewiston and the Clearwater / Snake river confluence on the left; Mt. Rainier, Mt. Adams and Mt. Hood on the right and underneath salmon swimming in the rivers that connect them all. I landed in a storm in Southern California and was met by two of my brothers, neither of which had I seen in many months. Never did I think this travel by sky safari was possible. Never did I think that Pistol Creek would tell this tale and never did I think it did it would have this affect. 

I can say with certainty that the Wonderland life is for me and I can say with certainty that I will continue to share it with others. These things we do and see are not possible without others first sharing them with us. And it’s our obligation, my obligation, to continue until I can no longer share it with others. 

That’s The Wonderland Way.

2018 Winner: Chris Miller

My name is Chris Miller and I was born and raised in Caldwell, Idaho.  For most of my childhood I was raised on field with my father at Caldwell Industrial Airport (KEUL) helping with construction of many new hangers.  Growing up on field for the most part, I was a part of general aviation’s many facets from morning café banter, to the occasional weekend backcountry trips and to watching some of the best builders construct new aircraft.  As I grew up, I realized I was a part of all of it, other than being a pilot!

I am a truck driver by trade and haul fuel in Idaho mostly. I have been a truck driver for many years and though I do truly love the trucking industry, I need a switch.  My wife and I sold all the fun items off to pursue the new direction; I gave up working during the days to working at night, solely to afford the time during the day to accomplish my private pilot’s certificate.  It did not happen overnight, and after 7 months of hard work, countless long nights counting mile markers and delivering fuel while everyone else was in bed, I was able to start taking lessons.

All of this would not be achievable without the support of my wife, Kelley Miller. She has been there from day 1, and it has been a full throttle adventure from when I broke the news to her what I wanted to accomplish.  My wife and I are truly thankful for opportunity granted from the Inter-state Aviation Scholarship and plan to use it to finish up my private pilot certificate, start my IFR rating and build hours to obtain a CFI rating. Thank you very much.

2016 Winner: James Durfey
My passion for aviation started at an early age when my farmer dad required any pilot that sprayed his mint with a helicopter to give me a ride. At age 13, our Boy Scout group took a planned ride on a F-27 Fairchild Turboprop jet transport from Pasco to Yakima in 1962.

Through my youth, I built many model airplanes and read many books on aviation. During my final year in high school, I enrolled in ground school and started learning to fly. At the Prosser airport, Max Hanks and Daryl Jackson purchased a Vought F4U Corsair for $21,000. Having the opportunity to sit in that airplane, and listening to stories from those who flew these airplanes during WWII, is a treasured verbal history I have passed on to my family, many other people and pilots. As graduation loomed, finances made the decision to put money toward college rather than finish learning to fly. Disappointed, somehow I knew the opportunity would return.

After college I started farming, still with the goal of learning to fly, but between starting a family and financial pressure of this young farmer, learning to fly was again was moved further down the priority list. Family took priority but my passion for flying was not diminished.

I have attended many air shows, secured Pappy Boyington’s autograph, met Bob Hoover and attended the Reno Air Races twice. From 1973 to 1985 while farming, I would still hang out at the local Prosser airport. This is where I met Walt Whitten, a pilot 25 years my senior. Walt and I became close friends and he took me on many flying trips into the Idaho backcountry. What a treasure to see the rugged and scenic back county of Idaho. I told myself that someday I would return with my own plane.

In 1992, I was employed by the Agricultural Engineering Department at Washington State University to teach in a program called Agricultural Technology & Management (AgTM); the applied segment of Agricultural Engineering. Fast forward to 2016, I now teach eight different classes and advise over 100 students. My passion to fly is laced into the classroom, as many of my students can testify. Several of them have completed ground school through Inter-State Aviation. After completing my private pilot license, my goal is to share the experiences of flight with my students with trips around the Palouse country.

Through the years, my passion for aviation has not diminished but has increased with intensity. In 2014, three of us (myself, my daughter, and a former student) partnered to purchase a plane. It is a 172, vintage 1956, and in very good shape. How cool to learn to fly with your daughter! February 16, 2015 was another monumental day as I “soloed” at Interstate Aviation in Pullman.
I still have more training toward the completion of my private pilot license, but I have passed my written, the medical is satisfied and now it is up to me. With the financial support from Idaho Aviation Association, I know I will attain my pilot’s license.

I want to thank the Idaho Aviation Association and the team at Inter-State Aviation for the encouragement and support as I work toward reaching my dream.

2016 Winner: David Belt

I was born and raised in San Diego, California then moved up to Longview, Washington for middle and high school. I now go to school at Westminster College in Salt Lake where I am pursuing a major in Aviation Operations. My favorite type of jet is the Dassualt Falcon 7x and my favorite plane that I have flown is the Aeronca Champ. My favorite kind of flying is low level flying anywhere in the mountains. I have received my commercial License and am now working on my CFI.

2015 Winner: Colene Sager

I am currently working towards my private pilot certificate at Inter-State Aviation, Pullman, Washington. I am honored to be the recipient of the Inter-State Aviation Scholarship for three thousand dollars. My aviation interest began as a passenger with my husband as the pilot. I would ask him, “Where are we flying? How long will it take to fly there? What are we going to do while there?” Now that I am taking lessons, I have fallen in love with flying. I do not care where, how long, or what we are going to do. I just love the experience of flying. We own a Mooney M20C plane, but I have been renting a Cessna 152 from Inter-State Aviation.

I have several goals in aviation. Once I have my private pilot license, I want to gain all the experience that I can. I believe a safe pilot is one who flies frequently. Once I have enough experience in Cessna 152 and 172, I want to fly our Mooney. I also want to share the joy of flying with others. Many people have told me, “I always wanted to learn to fly.” I want to be an example that if I can do it, they can, too.

I drive school bus for a small school district in rural eastern Washington. I talk to the kids on my bus about flying. One student who graduated several years ago is working on his commercial license. I am scheduled to give a presentation to the Junior High students with a goal of educating them on the basics of flying plus power point pictures I have taken from our plane.
I believe in general aviation. I also think that most people think it is unreachable for them. Yet they spend money on the toys they think they need: travel trailers, motor homes, motorcycles, 4-wheelers, etc. My husband and I have none of the above but we have traveled in our Mooney to the east coast and landed on Ocracoke Island in the Outer Banks and many other fun adventures.

Thank you Idaho Aviation Association and Inter-State Aviation for the scholarship that will help me reach my dream.

2015 Winner: Maggie Kirscher

Update: Since receiving the incredibly generous scholarship from IAA, I have completed both my Commercial License and Instructors Rating. I am currently Flight Instructing at Cochise College and am working on my CFII and Multi Engine Rating. I am extremely thankful to IAA, the community of Sandpoint/ North Idaho, and so many others for helping my dreams to become a reality! I cannot wait to give back to the aviation community in the future and am very excited to see where my next step takes me.

Background: I had the opportunity to “co-pilot” my softball teammate’s private Citation Jet when I was in 8th grade for an hour, and from the moment I felt the plane respond to the controls in my hands, I knew I was born to fly. My junior year of high school, I had the opportunity to job shadow a CFI (who turned out to be the single most important influence on my aviation career and I wouldn’t be where I am without him) and I got my first lesson in a C172. That summer, I soloed in 7.9 hours and the following summer I obtained my Private Pilot License in just over 40 hours. I also attended EAA meetings, worked at all of our fly-ins, and volunteered at our local aviation museum.

I am now attending Cochise Community College in Douglas, Arizona to obtain my Instrument, Multi-Engine, and Commercial licenses. I obtained my Instrument in December, 2014 and will have my Commercial, Multi, and CFI by July, 2015. I will instruct there until I have 500 hours and begin applying for jobs elsewhere. The total cost for the three licenses I will get is about forty thousand dollars, which is an enormous amount of money to go into debt, especially because my desired field makes very minimal money.

From the very beginning, I have always had my mind set on being a missionary/bush pilot in a third world country. I have met with numerous mission groups, schools, and actual pilots and they all say that having debit is not an option if this is something I truly want to pursue. Throughout my entire flying career I have always had multiple jobs to pay for my hours to stay ahead of the debt.
In five years I hope to have a Bachelors degree in aviation and be building hours by flying for a humanitarian organization and continuing to work myself out of the debt I have incurred. In ten years, I will be flying for an organization overseas to help people have access to things they never could without airplanes and being a spokesperson and advocate for women who are in aviation.

By getting this scholarship I will be able to get out in the mission field faster and begin to help people who do not have access to medical and other life saving supplies. I have always worked for my flying time, and I always will. However, having this scholarship would be a massive boost in getting me where I need to be. I will be a credit to the aviation community for the above-stated reasons, and because I have great drive and enthusiasm. I have always had a burning desire to help those who have less, and coupled with my passion for aviation, I believe I am going to impact the world for the better.

2015 Winner: Thomas Westall

Thomas Westall currently holds a Commercial Pilot certificate for airplane single engine land and rotorcraft-helicopters with instrument privileges in both. He possesses a Bachelor of Science degree in Communication Studies earned through the University of Idaho. Through the Idaho Army National Guard he received the opportunity to fly the AH-64D Apache Longbow attack helicopter. Upon return to Boise from US Army flight school in 2012, he continued his advanced civilian fixed wing training where he earned his single engine fixed wing instrument and commercial licenses.

Thomas’s short term goal is to fly airplanes for various aviation agencies across the State of Idaho in order to increase his experience as a fixed wing pilot. His long term goal is to work towards an Airline Transport Pilot certificate for both helicopters and airplanes. He plans to stay in Idaho and have a career in aviation management where he can continue to fly.
“I am honored to have had the opportunity to fly helicopters for the Guard, and airplanes on the side. I’m truly excited to see what my aviation future has in store for me” Thomas says. He is presently using the scholarship funds to earn his multi-engine commercial add on at Ponderosa Aero Club.

2014 Winner: Cody Smisek

I was born in Moscow, Idaho where I am currently enrolled in the Moscow Senior High School and am expected to graduate with the class of 2012. The excitement of aviation was brought into my life at a young age when my father received his private pilot certificate. In the summer of 2011 I passed my private check ride and now hold my own certificate with the help of the Shep Rock Foundation Scholarship. When I’m not flying I like to spend my free time skiing in northern Idaho with my friends and family. In the future I hope to join the Air Force ROTC program and finish college with an engineering related degree, while continuing to pursue an aviation related career.

2014 Winner: Phillip Negaard

On January 16, 1991, Phillip James Negaard was born to Mickel and Ester Negaard in a small farmhouse near Roy, MT. He was the third of four boys. At the age of six his family moved off the farm and into the town of Roy where his parents bought and ran the local grocery store. He lived in Roy through high school where he enjoyed the life of a small town. At age seventeen, between his junior and senior high school years, he began to spend his summers in Port Alsworth, Alaska, working in a hunting and fishing lodge.

During his time in Alaska he was introduced to aviation, as the lodge was a fly-in only lodge. After his third summer of working there he decided to pursue aviation. During the winter of 2010-2011 he went to Hawaii to obtain his private license since the weather in Alaska in the winter was not conducive to regular flight time. After obtaining his private license he returned to Alaska and purchased a plane with hopes of building his hours in order to get his instrument and commercial ratings.

In the summer of 2011 he met his future wife, Jennifer, and at the end of that summer he decided not to return to Alaska. He sold his airplane and started a carpentry business in Montana. There he slowly continued to build flying time at a small airport in Lewistown, Montana.

Phillip and Jennifer were married in Michigan on October 20, 2012 and returned to Montana where they both continued to work in the carpentry business. During this time they were prayerfully considering relocating to an area where Phillip could better continue his passion for aviation. In June of 2013 God opened the door for Phillip and Jennifer to move to Bonners Ferry, Idaho in order to pursue aviation with Northern Air, Inc.

Upon arrival he started his instrument training and was able to complete it in the fall. During that time he was hired on as an apprentice A&P mechanic at Northern Air, where he hopes to become a licensed mechanic and also obtain his commercial and CFI ratings.

The scholarship that he received from the Idaho Aviation Association is going to go a long way in helping Phillip achieve these goals, and he is very thankful and blessed for the generous gift that will help him in aviation.

Idaho Aviation Scholarships

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  • Application Information

  • Requirements

  • Are you a US citizen and an Idaho/Washington resident?
  • Attendance or accepted to an accredited university, college or trade school in an aviation related field?
  • Cover Letter & Resume

  • Submit a one-page letter to the IAA with a current resume. The letter should include at least the following: aviation interest and goals, relevant transcript(s) including GPA, intended school of attendance or flight instructor, and contact information. Recommendation letters are encouraged.
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