Bursary helps newcomers with careers in aviation

The Len Neufeld Bursary Awards is presented each year by members of the Vernon Flying Club in memory of the late and well-liked member.

  • Apr. 18, 2012 11:00 a.m.

Editor’s note: the following article is from the Vernon Flying Club.

On March 11, aircraft maintenance engineers-in-training Aaron Whitney and Lyle Smith were presented with their certificates as co-winners of the Len Neufeld Bursary Award at the Airport Terminal Building in Vernon.

The bursary, funded by the members of the Vernon Flying Club, was raised in memory of Len Neufeld, a respected and well-liked club member who passed the fix “outbound” for the last time in November, 2008 after several months of failing health.

Len’s successful career in aviation started like that of many pilots: by instructing others how to fly. This was followed by a period of “bush flying” before he joined Canadian Pacific Airlines where he flew for many years, finally ending his career with Air Canada.

He was an enthusiastic supporter of the Young Eagles venture (now COPA For Kids), volunteering his time and his aircraft introducing youngsters to the wonderful world of aviation. In addition, he was concerned with the aviation community at large and participated in air search and rescue activities through EPAir/CASARA.

The bursary raised in Len’s name is awarded on an annual basis to a deserving under-training pilot or air maintenance engineer. The bursary is funded from donations made by club members and/or from monies made from club activities during the year such as pancake breakfasts. This year, a further donation was made by the Silver Star Rotary Club.

Aaron Whitney hails from Armstrong, and has been on the course for about 12 months. Interested in all aspects of maintenance work, he has a bit of aviation history in his family; his grandfather was a Spitfire pilot during the war.

He would like to work for WestJet in the future but would gladly accept any position to gain experience.

Lyle Smith is from Peachland but is currently living in West Kelowna. He comes to aircraft maintenance honestly; as a child, he was always taking things apart and enjoyed working on motorcycles and vehicles. He always had a deep interest in aviation and thought that the two fields would mesh nicely.

He hopes to continue his training, ultimately winding up in the field of helicopter maintenance.