The Becker-Hansen Memorial Scholarship
The Becker-Hansen Memorial Scholarship was established in January 1998 by the
South Dakota Pilots Association to honor the memory and spirit of state pilots
Ron Becker (left) and Dave Hansen (right), who lost their lives in the crash
of the state's MU-2 aircraft, which killed Governor George Mickelson and five
others. The Scholarship originally awarded $500 annually to a South Dakota
pilot or student pilot to complete their training or a rating. The purpose
of the scholarship is to encourage more pilot starts and advanced ratings
in South Dakota. The award was increased to $800 beginning in 2005, increased to $1,000 in 2009, increased to
$1,250 in 2011, increased to $1,500 in 2015, and increased to $2,000 in 2017.
The criteria for the award and the nomination form are located below. Nomination
forms are due to the SDPA Executive Director no later than mid-August. Judging of the
nominations by the SDPA officers will occur in September, and the award winner
announced in the November issue of SDPA News.
Criteria for the Becker-Hansen Memorial Scholarship Award
Becker-Hansen Scholarship Nomination Form
- The candidate must be at least 16 years old and sponsored by a member of the SDPA.
- The sponsor must write a letter of recommendation, and highlight any characteristics
or accomplishments of the candidate as they apply to aviation, and clubs
or organizations they are a member of such as local, state, regional, national, or international
aviation groups. The letter should also indicate the candidate’s financial need for the
scholarship. Submit the letter by August 10 to the SDPA Executive Director
(Steve Hamilton, 303 Golf Lane, Yankton, SD 57078-1727).
- The sponsor shall complete the "Becker-Hansen Memorial Scholarship Nomination" form,
sign it, and submit it to the SDPA Executive Director by August 10th.
- The candidate must write a letter stating why they are deserving of the scholarship, their
involvement in aviation activities and aviation interests, and their future plans, sign
the letter, and submits the letter to the Executive Director by August 10th.
- The funds are to be used exclusively for obtaining a pilot's certificate or
to upgrade a current certificate (add a rating).
- The selectee must pass a Third Class Medical Examination, or higher class, conducted by an
Aviation Medical Examiner, at the selectee’s expense, before receiving scholarship funds.
- The scholarship funds must be expended within 12 months of the time of the award.
- A SD-based instructor must conduct the training.
- Cost of instruction should be billed directly to the SDPA Treasurer as
the training progresses and will be paid up to a total of $1,800. The final
$200 will be paid after the scholarship winner provides a 1-page typed summary/story
about their training experience (total $2,000) (see criteria #10).
- The Scholarship winner shall report in a 1-page typed summary/story to
the SDPA Executive Director about their training experience within 1 year after receiving
the award. The story will published in the SDPA News.
“Reapply” Policy: The SDPA will consider an application from
anyone who has previously received the Becker-Hansen Memorial Scholarship after a delay of 3 years,
but will give the candidate a lower-priority for receiving a second scholarship than other candidates.
**Policy adopted by vote at the SDPA meeting in Mitchell on July 27, 2008.
“Training Activity” Policy: If the scholarship winner does not
undertake flight training in a timely manner, i.e., within 6 months of the date of the scholarship
award letter, they will be notified of the lost of the scholarship, and an alternate scholarship
award winner will be notified of their selection for the scholarship. An alternate scholarship winner
will be selected based on ranking second in the selection process. The same
“Training Activity” policy applies to the alternate award winner. In the event that neither
applicant uses any funds within 6 months of award, then the funds will stay in the SDPA treasury for future use.
**Policy adopted by vote at the SDPA meeting in Philip on November 10, 2012.
“Preference” Policy: Lack of previous experience shall not be an emphasis
factor when ranking applicants for the scholarship award when evaluating candidates seeking a pilot
certificate and those seeking advanced ratings, such as instrument, commercial, CFI, etc. **Policy adopted
by vote at the SDPA meeting in Philip on November 10, 2012.
- 2021 Someone in South Dakota
- 2020 Matthew LaFave (Mission Hill, $2,000)
- 2019 Matthew Schad (Rapid City, $2,000)
- 2018 Caden Haiar (Alexandria, $2,000)
- 2017 William Seykora (Sioux Falls, $2,000)
- 2016 Lydia Anderson (Sioux Falls, $1,500)
- 2015 Kelley Jorgensen (Burbank, $1,500)
- 2014 Elizabeth Hubbard (Spearfish, $1,250)
- 2013 Brandon West (Brandon, $1,250)
- 2012 Nathan Keith (Hermosa, $1,250)
- 2011 Brad Woerner (Yankton, $1,250)
- 2010 Rachel Odens (Vermillion, $1,000)
- 2009 Justin Bierwirth (Custer, $1,000)
- 2008 Dan Berryhill (Spearfish, $800)
- 2007 Timothy Hyke (Huron, $800)
- 2006 Scott Schramm (Brookings, $800)
- 2005 Kevin Hamann (Sioux Falls, $800)
- 2004 Bob Arneson (Rapid City, $500)
- 2003 Tyler Johnson (Brandon, $500)
- 2002 Jody Weiderback (Watertown, $500)
- 2001 Joshua Grundt (Rapid City, $500)
- 2000 Misti Ausland (Florence, $500)
- 1999 Denise Vig (Faith, $500)
- 1998 Al Rohrbach (Pierre, $500)