Mary Shea Wright Flight Memorial Scholarship

Follow This Link for “Northampton Youth Glider Club FAQs”

The MSWF Memorial Scholarship was awarded for the first time in 2019 to Adele Jordan of Northampton.  This scholarship has been created in an effort to assist young women attending Northampton High School or Smith Vocational Tech, in obtaining their private pilot’s license.  The scholarship includes everything needed to obtain a private pilot’s license: ground instruction, flight instruction, materials, medical certificate, and flight test.   Preference will be given to a young woman who exhibits determination, focus and clarity towards achieving a goal.  The candidate needs to be willing to commit the time and determination required to become a pilot all while maintaining their grades as well as school and family obligations.

   As of 2018, only 7% of all US pilot certificates are held by women.  Mary would be proud to have her name attached to a scholarship that would increase that percentage.


Mary Shea was a lifelong educator.  She taught English at Hopkins Academy and held her CFI, CFII, MEI and IGI ratings.  She loved sharing her wealth of knowledge with her students.  She could often be found at Northampton Airport on weeknights holding ground school with her primary and instrument students, and then would be back at it again on the weekends teaching “Sunday School” to a packed room, full of interested pilots. 

Always an educator, Mary enjoyed her time teaching aviation history to our summer campers as well as our middle school after school STEM program, Northampton Airport Wright Flight.

Mary was a member of the 99s and Vice President and volunteer instructor of Northampton Airport Wright Flight.  In 1990 the FAA awarded her the General Aviation Flight Instructor of the Year and in 2014, she received the Wright Brothers “Master Pilot” Award, recognizing her for contributions to building, promoting and practicing safe flight operations for more than 50 consecutive years.

If you would like to donate to the scholarship, please follow this Go Fund Me link

 Mary Shea Wright Flight Memorial Scholarship

Applicant requirements:


US citizen

Minimum age of 16 at time of application (must be 17 to obtain private pilot license)

A resident of Northampton and attend either Northampton High School or Smith Vocational School 

Show interest in obtaining a private pilot’s license

Able to commit to completing coursework, lessons, and tests in 12 months (Commit 2 hours/wk for flight lessons PLUS 40 hours of ground and independent study time) 

Remain drug and alcohol free throughout the 12 months of training

*There are certain health conditions and medications that may preclude you from obtaining a Private Pilot’s license.  You can call the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association and anonymously ask questions regarding getting a Class 3 Medical Certificate. (800)872.2672


Please provide the following:

  • High school transcript
  • A copy of your most recent physical 
  • Completed essay, typed, double spaced between 250-500 words on the subject: “I Want to Learn To Fly Because…” 
  • Two letters of recommendation, one from a teacher and one from a guidance counselor 
  • Completed and signed application and all supporting documents received by the deadline of March 10, 2020.

The scholarship committee will choose a winner and notify her directly by April 10, 2020.


Having read the requirements, complete the following steps to apply for the MSWF Memorial Scholarship:

Complete and sign the application form

Have your letter writers put their recommendation letters in a sealed envelope, with their signature across the back sealed fold

Mail all documents together to arrive by the deadline to:

MSWF Memorial Scholarship 

Northampton Airport

160 Old Ferry Road

Northampton, MA 01060


Mary Shea Wright Flight Memorial Scholarship Application


Applicant Name: ___________________________________________________________________

Address (of legal residence): ___________________________________________________________________

Northampton, MA 01060

Phone: _________________ Email: ______________________________________

SUBMISSION CHECKLIST (check if completed)

  • Two letters of recommendation
  • Essay
  • Completed application
  • Copy of high school transcript

  I will remain drug and alcohol free during my 12 months of training.

I verify that all information listed above and contained within is accurate.

Applicant signature _______________________________Date__________________

Parent signature ________________________________Date __________________

Parent phone __________________________________________________________________

Parent email ___________________________________________________________________

Northampton Youth Glider Club FAQ

What are the goals of the club?

Learn to work as part of a team to achieve common goals.

Build confidence and self esteem.

Learn essential stick & rudder and critical aeronautical decision making skills.

Become a better pilot and build flight time that would count towards an aviation career.

Have fun outside in the fresh air.

Experience breathtaking bird’s eye views high above the beautiful Pioneer Valley.

Why gliders?

Before the Wright Brothers were airplane pilots they flew gliders. They knew it was important to understand aircraft performance and control first before trying to build an airplane. The US Airforce Academy starts all their pilots in Gliders and has found that it decreases training time and results in better pilots. Former Northampton resident and Smith College Alumni Anne Morrow Lindbergh, wife of Charles Lindbergh, was the ninth licensed glider pilot in the US and the first female glider pilot.

How old do you have to be?

Pilots can start training at any age, as long as they are able to reach the flight controls.

Glider pilots may solo as young as 14 and be eligible for their pilot certificate at 16.

How much flight time is required?

Aeronautical experience requirements for a pilot certificate in gliders:

10 hrs flight time in a glider including:

A minimum of 20 flights

2 hours solo glider time

10 solo takeoffs and landings

If the pilot has 40hrs time training in an airplane the requirements are less.

What does it cost?

Members are charged for their flights on a daily basis.

Plan on about $180 – $220 per day of training. That will be for 2-3 flights depending on altitude and what stage of training the student is at. Initially a student will do 2 longer flights to altitude to work on maneuvers and learning to fly on tow. Later pilots with do 3 – 4 shorter flights to work on flying the traffic pattern and landing. Pilots can do more or less flights but around $200/day is a good budget.

What is expected of members?

Glider flying requires teamwork. Members will be expected to help with ground crewing and staging of gliders when others are flying. In return they will do the same for you.

Is there financial assistance?

Scholarships and financial assistance may be available through Northampton Wright Flight, a 501 (c)(3) charitable organization dedicated to support youth aviation. For info on financial assistance or opportunities to make a tax deductible contribution contact Dave Strassburg.


Contact Dave Strassburg

Cell (413) 896-9574

Follow this link for a brochure to learn more about Northampton Airport Youth Programs

Our Northampton program is modeled after the Westfield program. For more information, check out WMAWF.ORG.”