ANN ARBOR, MI -- Avfuel Corporation, an independent supplier of aviation fuels and services, announces the winner of its annual AVTRIP Scholarship. Sheila D. Mabbitt, a 16-year aviation industry veteran, is the recipient of $2,000 in award money for the furtherance of her aviation education.
"Sheila appealed to us because of her unbelievable enthusiasm for general aviation — she's a valuable member of this community both as a pilot and as an educator, and we believe that her contributions will make a difference for future aviators," says Marci Ammerman, director of marketing for Avfuel. "We're proud to contribute to her aviation education."
A current resident of Nashville, TN, Mabbitt began her aviation career as a flight attendant for a major airline. She retired her flight attendant wings in August of 2007, finally making the transition to full-time pilot. She is now the pilot of a King Air 200 for a Part 135 operator who has a fixed-wing medical transport contract. At the same time, she has been diligently pursuing her bachelor's degree in aviation science, and will use the scholarship funds to pay for her last two semesters. She believes that the degree will only help her in her pursuit of further success in general aviation.
During the hurricane season that ravaged the gulf coast in 2005, Mabbitt spent many weeks hauling rescued animals from New Orleans in a DC-3 bound for Monterey, CA. During that experience she imagined what it must have been like for the soldiers of World War II to ride to war in the DC-3, and she developed a love for the aircraft.
"I have an overwhelming love for the DC-3," says Mabbitt, "and if the sky was the limit, I would introduce every new and young pilot to the radial-engine or World War II era of flying. I would take them upon a flight and let them have the controls and see if their imagination comes to life as mine does."
Mabbitt's power to inspire is contagious. She also offers a direct message to young fliers. In her essay she advises that they experiment training with one or two different instructors in order to get a varied perspective.
"I discovered early on that most flight instructors have varying ways of teaching the same fundamentals of flight, and though I may have struggled to grasp a certain concept taught by one instructor, I found that taking a lesson from a different instructor on occasion would result in new learning opportunities for me," she says.
The 2009 AVTRIP Scholarship application is available at www.avfuel.com. Avfuel has been awarding this scholarship since 1998, and makes a company tradition of supporting aviation education and development. Since the scholarship began in 1998, there have been over two hundred scholarship beneficiaries awarded with varying amounts of AVTRIP points.