Fall 2019 Youth Aviation Scholar

Shelby Hatchett never dreamed she’d be working on airplanes, but after her first visit to the Candler Field Museum’s youth aviation program shop, Shelby said immediately she “KNEW I was meant to be part of the Youth Aviation Program.”

Since that first visit, Shelby has been an active participant in the Youth Aviation Program for three years now, learning about how airplanes are designed and how they operate. She has also learned many hands-on tasks of building and repairing planes, including how to iron fabric, lay down tapes and rivet metal together. Shelby says that the coolest part of her job in the program has been being able to teach other students what she has learned.

“I am amazed that because of my love for the shop, my love for aviation I am now encouraging others to further their love for aviation and learning,” she wrote in her application.

Due to a few health-related diagnoses that have excluded her from becoming a pilot, Shelby’s future in aviation will be different than she first envisioned. While the news that she wouldn’t be able to pilot planes initially left her heartbroken, her mom encouraged her to keep going.

This encouragement spurred Shelby on to continue to pursue her aviation dreams, now as an aviation mechanic. Shelby will use her scholarship funds to help pay for her tuition at Mid-Georgia State University Eastman Aviation Campus. Shelby looks forward to continuing to learn and continuing to share that knowledge with other young aviation enthusiasts.

“I want to take what I have learned from the shop, what I am going to learn at college, apply it to my daily life through a job in aviation, and come back and teach students the exciting life of an aviation mechanic. I truly want to help the growth of aviation by learning more and then giving back by teaching the next generation.”