Long-time pilot and entrepreneur Don Judy has established a scholarship for Fairmont State University students seeking their commercial pilots license, the first of its kind at Fairmont State.
Judy, a sawmill owner who has been flying since the 1960s, retired in March after 30 years as a designated pilot examiner.
“I have examined the students at Fairmont for 20 years and have seen many students go on to become airline and corporate pilots,” Judy said. “I have no immediate family, and I have always enjoyed helping young people to fly.”
The Don Judy Commercial Flight Scholarship will assist Fairmont State University students in the Professional Flight Program in the School of Business & Aviation’s Department of Aviation who are West Virginia residents seeking post instrument rating commercial flight training (commercial, multi-engine or CFI). Students must possess a 3.0 cumulative GPA or higher to be considered.
“I love how wide the wings of our Falcon Family stretch,” said Mirta M. Martin, Fairmont State University President. “Our family is not only comprised of current students, staff, and alumni, but also our wider community and friends of the University all around the world. This includes dear friends like Don Judy, who believe in and support our mission to provide an affordable, transformative education. With his generous gift, Don is ensuring that more and more Fairmont State University students will be able to literally soar.”
The Professional Flight Option at Fairmont State University is one option of the three program options offered under the Aviation Center of Excellence. Students admitted to this selective program can gain a bachelor’s in Aviation Technology with an emphasis in business in aviation while simultaneously completing the flight hours and training required to obtain their private, instrument and commercial ratings.
The main objective of the Professional Flight Option at Fairmont State University is to educate aspiring pilots to be well rounded and complete aviation professionals. Our goal is to graduate not just a pilot but an exceptional aviator and student overall.
“This scholarship will assist West Virginia students, and Mr. Judy’s generosity will be felt for years to come,” said Fairmont State Foundation President Julie Cryser. “This is the first scholarship for the program and provides students with the ability to focus on the program and becoming exceptional pilots.”
Judy was born in Dry Fork, WV. He first experienced the wonder of aviation at the age of five in a Bonanza aircraft. His father maintained a grass strip on their farmland and his love for aviation thrived. After receiving his private pilot certificate in 1962, he continued receiving additional ratings through his hard work and dedication.
Judy’s ratings range from Single Engine Land and Sea to Multi Engine Land and Sea, Rotorcraft, as well as Glider. He is a certified flight instructor on all the previously mentioned aircraft classifications and holds an Airframe and Powerplant (A&P) certificate with Inspection Authority (IA) designation. Serving as a Designated Pilot Examiner Mr. Judy has issued nearly 2000 FAA certifications to aspiring pilots before retiring in March 2020.
In addition to assisting others pursue their dreams in aviation, Judy restores aircraft, having overseen 10 complete aircraft rebuilds. He is also talented in the art of recovering fabric aircraft; a form in which few are currently proficient.
Judy is the recipient of the 2010 Wilbur Wright Award, having been accident-free for 50 years; a testimonial to Judy’s superior skillset. In 2016, Judy received the Charles Taylor Master Mechanic Award for having been an airframe and powerplant mechanic for 50 years. He has also been inducted into the West Virginia Aviation Hall of Fame.
“The Donald Judy WV Aviation Scholarship aspires to carry on and manifest Mr. Judy’s love for aviation well into future generations,” said Joel Kirk, who leads the Fairmont State Aviation Program. “The intent of this scholarship is to provide assistance and inspiration to an aspiring, exceptional and promising flight student from and within his home state of West Virginia. Additionally, the goal of this award is to aid an applicant who despite demonstrating extraordinary work ethic, might not otherwise be in a position to afford advanced training.”
In 2017, Mr. Judy was a key player in helping the Fairmont State University restructure into the Aviation Center of Excellence. That year the “ACE” obtained its permanent 14 CFR part 141 status becoming the first in the State of West Virginia. This could not have happened without Mr. Judy’s relentless effort to always be available to give FAA practical examinations in a timely manner.
“I have always said that what you give to others returns 10-fold to you,” Judy said.