SMO — A few pilots have donated their time so that a lucky young girl at Santa Monica High School can learn to fly for free.

Civil engineer and amateur pilot Kambiz Taleghani reached out to fellow pilots after his daughter, who is still in high school, showed interest in learning how to fly. He wants to encourage more young women to become interested in aviation and possibly become pilots so he organized some friends who fly to create the scholarship.

The scholarships is part of a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) education-related program.

“Women have traditionally had a harder time accessing careers in aviation so we wanted to help level the playing field by getting girls interested at an early age,” Taleghani said.

Although the stated objective of the scholarship is a pilot’s license, the process involves learning many subjects and skills: Aerodynamics, theory of flight, meteorology, propulsion systems, navigation, geography, engineering, electronics, electricity, math, regulations, regulatory process, environment, discipline, concise communications, study habits, focus, dexterity, and more.

A few pilots have donated their time so that a lucky young girl at Santa Monica High School can learn to fly for free. (Photo courtesy www.girlsfly.org)

A few pilots have donated their time so that a lucky young girl at Santa Monica High School can learn to fly for free. (Photo courtesy www.girlsfly.org)

The winner of the scholarship will receive 40 hours of airplane and instructor time over a 30-month period. The lessons will be provided at Santa Monica Airport.

The application deadline is next Sunday, Dec. 22. The winner will be announced in January 2014.

The scholarship is for a female student at Samohi.

“We want to start out at one school, see if there’s interest and see if we can then get more pilots to volunteer their time,” Taleghani said. “No on is getting paid for this. It’s all about spreading a love for flying.”

Interested students can apply online at www.flysmo.com.

kevinh@smdp.com

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