Jaryd Wetzel’s dream of joining the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) and flying F-35s has been given a boost after the first-year Swinburne University of Technology student was awarded the Sir Reginald Ansett scholarship for aviation.
The scholarship will provide Wetzel with $30,000 over three years towards his Bachelor of Aviation degree at the university.
Wetzel says his love of aviation began as a child during endless weekends at Tyabb Airport watching aircraft come and go with his father. He has now logged about 60 hours dual and solo on various aircraft types and hopes the scholarship will help make his career goal of flying F-35s for the RAAF come true.
“Winning the Sir Reginald Ansett scholarship removes the financial stress so I can focus on my flying and give it my very best. It gives me the best opportunity for success,” Wetzel said in a statement.
“My father was in the Navy and was interested in becoming a pilot but didn’t have the same opportunity as my generation. His ship was stationed with an aircraft carrier which had regular flybys of Navy fighters.”
The scholarship is part of the RM Ansett Trust, which distributes about $1 million a year to fund scholarships at both secondary schools and tertiary institutions, as well as grants to charities supporting children in Victoria.
It is awarded to a student undertaking the aviation degree at Swinburne with outstanding academic achievements, a real aptitude for aviation and can demonstrate financial need.
Equity Trustees is trustee of the RM Ansett Trust and administers the scholarship.
“Jaryd’s enthusiasm for flying from a young age as well as his determination to become a pilot make him a standout choice as the winner of this year’s Ansett Aviation scholarship,” Equity Trustees general manager for philanthropy Tabitha Lovett said.
“His commitment to work during his VCE and gap year to fund his studies demonstrated impressive focus and drive. We are pleased Sir Reginald’s scholarship will lessen the financial pressure on Jaryd and his family to see him through his studies.”