About Pilots With A Purpose

PWAP co-founder Ed Nielsen has a long history of working with youth in the foster care system and youth who have been adjudicated delinquent. He has found that these young people have overwhelmingly positive responses to taking airplane rides—rides that temporarily free them from the many challenges they face. Ed enjoys the opportunity to give youth a bigger perspective of how they fit within their neighborhoods and communities.

In 2020, Ed took a 15-year-old cancer survivor named Nathan on a series of flights. Nathan was greatly impacted and ultimately decided to pursue flying for the airlines as a career. At Capital City Airport in New Cumberland, PA, that day, Ed started talking to the owner of Cargill Aeronautical Academy, Susan Naylor-Adams. Ed shared his dream of creating an aviation career path program for minority and female students that was built on a foundation of mentorships: experienced aviators with students.

After asking lots of questions, Susan was on board! They then reached out to a group of committed, qualified, and experienced individuals to jump-start the Pilots With A Purpose program.

Guided by our enthusiastic Board of Directors, Pilots With A Purpose:

Provides educational opportunities to expose young people to potential aviation careers

Identifies eligible students who will benefit from PWAP’s education and mentorship

Partners with Cargill Aeronautical Academy to help students receive necessary training

Awards financial support to students to help fund their training

Mentors students from day one until program completion

Pilots With A Purpose is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization. Gifts are deductible to the full extent of the law. The official registration and financial information of Pilots With A Purpose may be obtained from the Pennsylvania Department of State by calling toll free, within Pennsylvania, 1-800-732-0999. Registration does not imply endorsement.