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The Aviation Foundation congratulates the 2023 Summer Clifford Ball Scholarship winner, Allison Park, PA. resident Zachary Sexton. 

Zachary Sexton Clifford Ball 2.jpg

The Aviation Foundation presented two Clifford Ball Memorial Scholarships, on May 23, 2023.  The outstanding Aircraft Maintenance Technician awardees are Austin John Wagler and Daniel Sullivan. Both students are now eligible for a Pittsburgh Institute of Aeronautics matching grant.

TAF extends compliments to Mr. Wagler and Mr. Sullivan on the achievement along with our best wishes for continuing successes in their new career field.

Danial Sullivan
Austin John Wagler

March 2023 Recipient: Bryce Bair, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 

School/Program: P.I.A; Aviation Maintenance Technician 

Bryce Bair embodies the Babe Ruth quote, "It's hard to beat a person who never gives up". His passions were ripping his bike apart only to reassemble it AND hockey. In September 2020 when playing football, he collapsed with a "blown" knee which eventually caused him to retire his skates and switch directions.

An important Ben Franklin quote for Bryce, "Teach me, I will remember. Involve me, and I will learn."  The Aviation Foundation is pleased to award Bryce Bair with the March 2023 Clifford Ball Scholarship Award.

October 2022 Recipient: DeAndre Allen, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 

School/Program: P.I.A; Aviation Maintenance Technician 

The Aviation Foundation presented DeAndre Allen with the $2,500.00 Clifford Ball Memorial Scholarship.  In DeAndre’s own words, “becoming an Aircraft Maintenance Technician has been a dream if mine since I was a child.” TAF extends its most sincere congratulations to Mr. Allen, who graduated on October 4, 2022, and has accepted an AMT position with Delta Airlines in Atlanta, GA.

March 2022 Recipient: Jereme Thompson, Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania 

School/Program: P.I.A; Aviation Maintenance Technician


Mr. Thompson determined he didn’t enjoy his chosen career field and chose to retrain as Aviation Maintenance Technician.  The Aviation Foundation presented Jereme Thompson with the $2,500.00 Clifford Ball Memorial Scholarship on March 21, 2022. Jereme is an AMT with United Airlines. (1).jpg

November 2021 Recipient: Braden Brunson, Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania

School/Program: P.I.A; Aviation Maintenance Technician 

Mr. Brunson wants to build a reputation and leave a legacy of maintaining aircraft to the highest standards!  The Aviation Foundation presented Braden Brunson with the $2,500.00 Clifford Ball Memorial Scholarship on November 21, 2021! Braden works with GE.

Braden Brunson

March 2021 Recipient: Brian Saylor, Bridgeville, Pennsylvania

School/Program: P.I.A: Aviation Maintenance Technician 

The Aviation Foundation was pleased to present Brian Saylor with the $2,500.00 Clifford Ball Memorial Scholarship on March 18, 2021! As of October 2022, Mr. Saylor has worked with Republic Airlines.

Projects 2023-2024


2.  Space Camp for 9-11 age groups

“Examine real-world applications of science, technology,  engineering, and mathematics.”     


Space Academy for 12-14 age groups

“Experience firsthand the future of space travel and train to solve technically challenging anomalies to complete a space mission.”


Advanced Space Academy for 15-18 age groups“Explore college and career preparation through an immersive experience in science, engineering, technology, and mathematics.”


Additional programs include Aviation Challenge, Space Camp Robotics, and U.S. Cyber Camp Programs in Huntsville, AL.

NOTE: The Aviation Foundation Space Camp Scholarship Awards are announced by the U.S. Space & Rocket Center by February 2025. Spaces are very limited. If interested, please visit the Space Camp Button on the foundation home page as soon as possible and begin the application process for consideration.

Preserving History

Preserving History


2023 Recipients


Myron Collier, Cheif Pilot, Cyclops 34 years, FAA DPE for 50 years

Ronald and Sue Corrado, founders of Skyward Aviation, Washington, Pa

Edward and MaryAnne Kilkeary, founders of LJ Aviation, Latrobe, PA

Dr. Fernand Parent, Jr., FAA Medical Examiner, 50,000 pilot exams

Hangar Party 2023 Legend Awards

2. Miss Pittsburgh

History: Miss Pittsburgh Biplane

TAF donated $5,000 to The Senator John Heinz History Center, Pittsburgh, PA, to fund and display one of the original five airmail aircraft, “Miss Pittsburgh,” a Waco 9 single-engine tailwheel aircraft that is currently suspended from the ceiling of the (KPIT) Pittsburgh International Airport Passenger Terminal.]

The Weaver Aircraft Co. began in 1920 in Troy, Ohio. Not long after the name was changed to the WACO Aircraft Company, that company lasted until 1947. Miss Pittsburgh is a WACO 9 biplane. This model first flew in 1925 and incorporated some design improvements over previous models. A major improvement was that the fuselage and tail were constructed using steel tubing rather than wood, providing better strength and rigidity. 270 Model 9's were built from 1925 to 1926.  They had two cockpits, one two-place cockpit in the front and the pilot's single-seat cockpit in the rear. They were powered by the venerable Curtiss OX-5 eight-cylinder engine, producing 90 HP.  The top speed was 90 MPH, and the cruise speed was 65 MPH. Its handling characteristics found it sluggish in roll control due to the fact that it only had ailerons on the upper wings. Pilots compensated for this by leading with the rudder when banking to make turns.


These early aircraft had only rudimentary flight instruments and no radios. Pilots navigated by following roads or railroads, and they also used dead reckoning for cross-country travel. Forced landings were not an uncommon occurrence. When bad weather set in, pilots were forced to land on any suitable terrain available. The engine only had a single magneto to fire the spark plugs. Modern aircraft have two for redundancy. 


There are only a handful of these planes in existence today.  We are fortunate that one of these rare airplanes from a bygone era is displayed at the Pittsburgh International Airport. Records indicate that there may be only two Model 9's still flying today.


Significance: Contract Airmail Route 

Clifford Ball (November 29, 1891 – June 2, 1972), a native of McKeesport, PA, was the owner of the airline which flew the first regular airmail route in the United States.

Ball started Clifford Ball Airlines, Inc. in 1927 with seven biplanes based out of Bettis field, near Pittsburgh. He was awarded Contract Airmail Route 11 by the Federal government (on March 21, 1926), and Ball sent the first airmail flight off on April 27, 1927.
The route was Pittsburgh -> Youngstown -> Cleveland (a distance of 121 miles) and back.

The pilot on the first airmail flight was named Merle Moltrup, and the name of the plane was Miss Pittsburgh.

“Miss Youngstown” was destroyed in a crash, leaving four original Waco 9’s airmail planes. 

This marked the birth of commercial aviation and ultimately led to air travel as we know it today.

Luscombe A

Luscombe 801.jpg

“The Luscombe 8 is a series of high-wing, side-by-side-seating monoplanes with conventional gear, designed in 1937 and built by Luscombe Aircraft”. 1


This LUSCOMBE A fuselage, serial #801, was donated to The Aviation Foundation and kept in dry storage for over twenty years.  Myles Lilley diligently worked to find a proper home and met Mark Anderson, Anderson Aviation in Missouri in 2020.  Since Mr. Anderson was searching for this serial number, he made the trip to retrieve this fuselage and is currently in the process of a full restoration.


The update per Mark Anderson as of June 2022, “We are to the point of making the 4 lower skins for the fuselage. They are different from the later ‘normal’ Luscombe’s.  We have to make them from 2024-0 and then get them heat treated. I have the metal cut to size, just need the time to make them.  The tail and ailerons are completely rebuilt, and the wings are close to covering”.


The Luscombe is planned for current production!  “June 19th, 2019, is a very interesting day to look back on. I think at least ten people asked Steve Testrake … if we were sure we wanted to take on the challenge to bring back the Luscombe production. The answer was a definite yes and yes”. 2



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