Fran Bera Scholarship

Scholarship Value: $12,000
Awards Available: 1
Award Deadline: Dec 7, 2024

Fran Bera the 6an 'iego Chapter matriarch flew for over 70 years. 6he amassed over 25,000 flight hours by ferrying surplus aircraft after the war flight instructing running her own flight school conducting flight examinations and flying as an experimental test pilot. 6he was a record-setting pilot with numerous aviation Hall of Fame inductions and was the first woman to fly a helicopter with no tail rotor. She was a first-generation American who became one of the most accomplished aviatrixes in history.

For many years Fran was also a sales and demonstration pilot for Beechcraft and Piper Aircraft. She even got to name the Piper Duchess airplane. In 1933 Fran loved her Pipers flying a Cherokee 235 to Siberia "just for the fun of it."

When asked about discrimination in the male-dominate  industry of aviation she said, "I was having so much fun getting paid for what I loved to do that I didn't realize that I wasn't liberated ́.

Fran's passion was air racing. She started racing in the 1950s and is one of the sports-winningest pilots. She has flown the famous All-Women's Transcontinental Air Racer nicknamed the "Powder Puff Derby, ́" 20 times, winning a record 7 times. Her plaque in the Museum of Women Pilots was accidentally engraved "Seven Time Sinner" instead of "Winner," referencing her unsurpassed Powder Puff Derby 1st place finishes and she refused to let them correct it!

In the 1970s and 1980s Fran was named as one of the dedicated women pioneers of aviation by Congressional Record, named in Memory Lane at the International Forest of Friendship, and named "Woman Pilot of the Year ́" by the Silver Wings Fraternity.

She played significant roles in various aviation organizations including the Ninety-Nines which was dearest to her heart. Fran mentored many women and helped them become pilots.

Fran passed away in February 2018 leaving behind an everlasting legacy for our chapter and for all women in aviation.

This scholarship honors our late San Diego Chapter matriarch, past FAA Designated Examiner, test pilot, aircraft saleswoman, and record-setting air racing legend with over 20,000 general aviation hours in her log book. When Fran passed in Feb 2018, her 69-year membership in the Ninety-Nines was the 7th longest in the organization. She was always a supporter of women pilots and especially student pilots. It was her wish to assist a dedicated and active 99s member to achieve her Private Pilot certificate.

This scholarship is an award of up to $12,000 to do that. The winner must be able to show her participation as a member and lay out a plan to complete her training within 12 months.

The application window is open until her birthday of December 7th!

To be eligible for the Fran Bera Scholarship the applicant must:

  • Be a 99s Student Pilot MemEer for at least 3 months prior to the submission
  • Have a current and valid medical certificate
  • Have a student pilot certificate
  • Have a minimum of five hours of flight training in the 6 months prior to the
    application deadline
  • Receive their flight training within the United States
  • Demonstrate a need for financial assistance
  • Have a 99s Mentor
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