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Pilot Bill Cowden, pictured with his aerobatic plane.

For Bill Cowden, aviation wasn’t just a career choice, but a way of life.  Since he was a young boy, Bill had always dreamed of being a pilot.  Through diligence and perseverance, he nurtured that goal into a 25-year-long aviation career.

As a private pilot, North Dakota Air National Guard F-16 pilot, commercial airline pilot and air show performer, Bill accumulated over 7,500 flight hours in more than 85 different models of aircraft.  He held a Level 1 Unrestricted Surface Level Aerobatic waiver.  Bill was also an Airframe and Power Plant mechanic and aircraft builder.  He loved giving rides to and mentoring aspiring young pilots, and served on numerous aviation boards and committees.

Bill passed away unexpectedly at the age of 47 in an accident at an air show performance in June 2014.  Those who knew Bill remember his attention to detail and hunger to attain each subsequent aviation rating.  His passion was honing his aviation skills and promoting aviation activities in all their forms.

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Pilot Bill Cowden

It is in this spirit and in his loving memory that his wife, Heather Cowden, reached out to the Community Foundation of Dunn County to establish the Bill Cowden Memorial Aviation Scholarship.  It is Heather’s hope that aspiring pilots who lack the financial resources to pursue advanced pilot training will be able to fulfill their dreams in Bill’s memory.

Starting in 2015, one scholarship will be available each year to provide financial support to an area pilot working to obtain higher ratings in aviation, up to $1,500.

Application deadline is May 1st of each year.

Criteria of Eligibility:

  • Applicant must hold a current Private Pilot Certificate and plan to pursue advanced training in aviation.
  • Applicant must provide a professional resume, and include one letter of recommendation related to aviation skills.
  • Applicants must submit a one-page, typewritten essay giving their reasons for pursuing advanced training in aviation.

Follow the link below to complete the online application form.  Applications are accepted December 1st through the May 1st deadline each year.

Apply Now

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