Solo Milestones — Ray Scholars From EAA Chapter 1093

By Jim Murphy, EAA Chapter 1093 Scholarship Coordinator

EAA’s Ray Scholarship program is supported by the James Ray Foundation, managed by EAA, and administered through the EAA chapter network. Through the generous support of the Ray Foundation, EAA provides up to $10,000 to deserving youth to cover their flight training expenses, totaling $1,550,000 in scholarships annually.

EAA Chapter 1093’s 2019 Ray scholar is Jack Gavin, EAA 1235174, and the 2020 scholar is Daniel Libbey, EAA 1222377. Both of these young pilots received their private pilot certificates. In 2021, the chapter was awarded two Ray scholar opportunities.

The first of these went to Tobias Pobanz, EAA 1406421, a 17-year-old John Glenn High School senior. Seen here on December 14, 2021, with his EAA solo shirt, Tobias is planning to study aviation science, and eventually find a career in commercial aviation. Chosen for his enthusiasm and interest in all things aviation, Toby says so far his flying experiences have been nothing but amazing. “I can’t remember a single lesson when I did not have fun; even when I don’t do everything perfectly, I still find flying so much fun!” We agree, Toby, because that is exactly how we feel.


About the Ray Aviation Scholarship Toby said, “The award is amazing because it gives kids the opportunity to receive training and move forward in aviation, something which most families cannot afford. I began with Young Eagles, where kids find out if [aviation] is something they are passionate about. The [scholarship] then allows them to pursue aviation and follow their dreams at a young age.”

Our second 2021 Ray Aviation Scholarship went to Jason Labby, EAA 1438368, a native Midlander and graduate of HH Dow High School.

“I passed the airport many times growing up, but never thought to get involved.” Having caught the flying bug, Jason (seen in the RV-12 build photo) is studying aviation flight science at Western Michigan University.

“My goal is to fly as a career, and I’m open to all opportunities, including corporate, airline, or cargo. Aviation is something I have found a passion for, and would enjoy having a career related to that passion.”

Jason’s flying experience began with flight training in the summer of 2021. Quickly learning the basics and seen as a solid aviation student early in his training, he was picked to be our second 2021 EAA Ray scholar.


“Learning landings has been the most difficult part of training so far, but with much practice I am starting to get better. On December 14 this year I completed my first solo, one of the coolest experiences in my life. I am honored to receive the Ray scholarship. I believe it is a great program, and I take it very seriously. I am very excited for the opportunity it is giving me to achieve my first objective, that of becoming a private pilot, and for the motivation to continue on my aviation journey.”

As you well know, flight training is not a piece of cake. We have all stumbled, and losing heart happens. So, when you meet one of these young gentlemen, or any of our fine scholarship awardees, introduce yourself, and take a moment to thank them for their efforts to achieve their goals and become respected members of our aviation community. Smile with them, and extend your offer to share your aviation knowledge and experience, and just a little of your time. This is The Spirit of Aviation.

Have you reached a milestone recently? Passed a checkride, given your first or hundredth Young Eagles flight, flown your homebuilt for the first time? Tell us about it at

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