Fifteen-year-old awarded $10,000 Ray Aviation Scholarship

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The local Experimental Aircraft Association (Ky. Lake EAA Chapter 734) presented 15-year-old Chester Evans a $10,000 Ray Aviation Scholarship for 2020 . He is the son of Drs. Paul and Pam Evans of Hollow Rock and is a freshman at USJ School in Jackson.

The presentation was made Dec. 5 at Carroll County Airport. This scholarship will boost Chester’s flight dream by making him a pilot around his 16th birthday.  The Ray Foundation awards over one million dollars a year to deserving youth in $10,000 grants for them to earn their pilot’s certificate.

CHECKING IT OUT – Chester Evans checks out an experiment plane.

Chester will begin his formal training in gliders and then progress through different types of aircraft to eventually become an airline pilot.

Scholarship Coordinator Carl Blevins of Paris pointed out that Chester will first be sent to glider school which may be in Florida.

“He’s been working really hard and we are so proud of him,” said Blevins. “He will be soloing in three months.”

Chester started with remote control aircraft with his brother in a cornfield near his house in the Mixie Community in Carroll County.

Later, he took a free Young Eagles’ flight with EAA Chapter 734 where he got to handle the controls of a real aircraft. He became a member of the Chapter 734 which is the local chapter of the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA). He is building a real aircraft, a Zenith 750 Super Duty, which he plans to finish and fly before graduating high school. He started building his Zenith during EAA’s AirVenture – the world’s largest airshow at the age of 14.

FUTURE PLANE – The airplane that Chester Evans is building will eventually look like this one. He is in a demo plane at EAA AirVenture.

The Ray Aviation Scholarship is one of the legacies from James Ray, an EAA life member, who believed that life skills, discipline, character, and confidence through flight training makes a positive impact on youth. Ray wanted kids to work for their goals. This played a big role in Chapter 734 choosing Chester for this grant to learn to fly. Chester’s journey to flight will be on Chapter 734’s website at

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