iLEAD Exploration Learner Ricky Vidal-Dorsch Receives SSA Flight Scholarship

Congratulations to emerging young pilot Ricky Vidal-Dorsch, who has received a Soaring Society of America flight scholarship! Ricky was a participant in the iLEAD course called Intro to Piloting. Learners from SCVi, iLEAD Lancaster Exploration, iLEAD Antelope Valley Exploration, iLEAD Exploration, and iLEAD Antelope Valley Studio met virtually to discuss the FAA requirements to become a pilot, receive flight scholarship guidance, and hear from industry experts. Ultimately, they shared in the adventure of learning to fly at events held at Skylark North Gliding School in Tehachapi.

Ricky, a 10th grader at iLEAD Exploration, received the news of his award this month. We asked about his experiences with flight, and here’s what he had to say.

Why do you want to learn to fly and how do you see it impacting your future?

Learning to fly helps me to understand the fundamentals of aerodynamics and flight. This knowledge is invaluable to me as an aerospace engineer-in-the-making because I will be able to apply it to aircraft design, development, and testing.

Learning to fly will also give me a unique perspective of challenges and opportunities in the aerospace industry.

I am also developing a deeper understanding of the physics of flight, which could help me design more efficient and reliable aircraft.

Learning to fly gives me experience in making critical decisions under pressure, which is essential for any engineer in a safety-critical field.

I am also gaining teamwork and communication skills for large-scale engineering projects.

Learning to fly brings me one step closer to becoming an aerospace engineer, which is what I want to dedicate my life to.

How did the Intro to Piloting course impact you?

It allowed me to discover my passion for flying. Before this class, I knew I wanted to be an engineer and have a career that would give me opportunities to build things. But once I began learning, I knew I wanted to fly. I also want to learn how to make better, faster, more efficient, and cleaner planes. In addition, I want to participate in building the machines and instruments that will take humanity into space exploration.

What are some of your favorite things?

My favorite book is The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind. My favorite hobby is woodworking. My favorite foods are cheese fondue and “enchiladas suizas.”

What’s a fact about yourself that others might not know?

I love to travel because I enjoy spending time away from mundane things and learning about new places, people, and other cultures. (And, yes, this also ties in to wanting to learn to fly planes!)

For more information about Soaring Society of America and flight scholarship opportunities, visit their website.

For more information about taking glider flight lessons, visit Skylark North Glider Flight School.

For more information about iLEAD Intro to Piloting, email iLEAD Director of STEAM Initiatives Kathleen Fredette.


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