Chicago Executive Pilots’ Association Awards Scholarships to Young Aviators

Dave Klopfleisch handing Maya Gronkowski her academic studies scholarship.


Each year, the Chicago Executive Pilots’ Association, or CEPA, gathers to celebrate excellence and unity at Chicago Executive Airport. The non-profit organization, once known as the Palwaukee Airport Pilots Association, or PAPA, was founded to unite the pilots who call PWK their home and improve the safety and security of the continued usage of the airport.

Held annually in a hangar at Chicago Executive Airport, the Member Appreciation Dinner is not just for the experienced pilots but also the novice. Wanting to promote the success of the next generation of pilots, CEPA uses the gathering to celebrate deserving individuals with scholarships for their aviation education.

The scholarships, funded by members of CEPA, Chicago Executive Airport, and various local sponsors, go towards either academic or flight training expenses. The officers and directors of CEPA reviewed academic applications sent in from across the state, and from pilot learners at Chicago Executive Airport’s flight schools.

One of the students awarded an academic studies scholarship this year was Maya Gronkowski, a senior at Lewis University studying toward an Aviation Flight Technology major with a Dispatch minor.

She, along with the other scholarship recipients from this year and previous years were awarded the scholarships because of their excellence in the classroom and outside of it. Earning accolades through practical experience, each recipient has a bright future in aviation.

Dave Klopfleisch: Mentor Pilot, Safety Officer, and Senior Flight Instructor at Chicago Executive Flight School, handed the checks to the scholarship recipients this year. Dave has been flying for more than 50 years and is a recent recipient of the FAA Wright Brothers Award. Once a pilot in the Navy, Dave now generously commits his time to mentoring students like Maya. He was assisted in the presentations by CEA’s Executive Director, Jeff Miller.

In addition to the scholarship ceremony, this year’s charity flight providers were also recognized for their efforts, including Aviation Explorers, Civil Air Patrol, Lifeline Pilots, and Pilots & Paws.

For more information on the Chicago Executive Pilots Association and its upcoming events, visit