Kapolei’s Nagai Makes Aviation Dream Come True
Aspiring pilot Ryan Nagai of Kapolei is one of the recipients of Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor’s Frank Der Yuen Aviation scholarships for fall 2015.
The Moanalua High School senior, who started flying lessons at the age of 16, will attend Central Washington University and enroll in its aviation program, where he will major in the professional flight program. He completed his first solo flight in 2013, first cross-country solo flight in 2014, and earned his private pilot’s license last month.
“One of the things I love about flying is being able to travel to different places,” he said. “Flying makes me feel free.”
He first became interested in flying at the age of 5, when he was introduced to the Flight Simulator 2002 computer game. He then invested in Flight Simulator 2004, which introduced the rudder pedals and a yoke.
“I also liked big machinery from a very young age,” he added.
His hope is to one day become a pilot for Hawaiian Airlines. “I want to live in Hawaii and be able to work my dream job of flying to different countries and states,” he continued.
According to museum director of education Shauna Tonkin, the scholarship was established to do just that: encourage personal growth and education for those pursuing careers in aviation.
The Frank Der Yuen Aviation Scholarship was named after Frank Der Yuen, who is recognized as the inventor of the passenger boarding bridge, for his contributions to aviation and the state of Hawaii.
Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor is accepting applications for fall 2016, and information is online at PacificAviationMuseum.org.