Charlie Hillard Memorial Scholarship

Charlie R. Hillard had the mark of a highly determined individual at a very young age. Born on March 22, 1938, Charlie was ten when he went to work for his dad "King Charlie Hillard" dusting cars on the family car lot for $10 a week. Young Charlie had a plan. By his 16th birthday that plan was becoming a reality as he made his first solo flight that year. Then, as a freshman at Georgia Tech, Charlie purchased his first airplane, a Piper Cub. At 18, he mastered sky diving and again proving his fierce determination, earned a place on the U.S. Skydiving team just two years later in 1958. That summer, Charlie began building his list of "firsts" as he and partner Steve Snyder were the very first in the U.S. to pass a baton in a free-fall.

Charlie then began to concentrate solely on precision aerobatic flying and in turn, began to amaze audiences around the country. He won the National Championship in 1967 and represented the U.S. in four world championships. Charlie made America especially proud in 1972, as he was the first American to win the world aerobatic title. It was the year after he partnered with Gene Soucy and Tom Poberezny to form the Red Devil Aerobatic Team, a world-class aerobatic team that would take precision aerobatic flight to new and amazing heights. In 1979, the threesome made their debut as the Eagles Aerobatic Flight Team with Charlie as lead pilot. They flew together for more than 25 years and became synonymous around the world with precision aerobatic perfection. In 1996, with more than 15,000 flying hours to his credit, Charlie decided to embark on the next exciting phase of his amazing career as a solo aerobatic pilot in his Hawker Fury, a high-performance, fixed-wing monoplane.

Throughout his life Charlie was recognized many times for his aerobatic excellence including the International Council of Air Show’s Wilkinson Sword of Excellence Award and induction into the International Aerobatics Hall of Fame. While Charlie was truly key to the advancement of precision aerobatics, he was also an enthusiastic contributor and volunteer in his community, particularly devoted to family and children’s causes and organizations. To the people who knew and loved Charlie, this was no surprise, as it was well understood that at the very core of this remarkable man, who regularly soared to heights not often reached or even imagined by others, was his limitless love and dedication to home and his family.

This memorial scholarship is in honor of Charlie R. Hillard, 1938 - 1996. The Charlie R. Hillard Scholarship provides a grant to begin or continue flight training and is open to those between the ages of 18 and 30.  The Hillard family believes there are many young, deserving aviation enthusiasts, and is pleased to offer an opportunity for growth.  The Charlie Hillard Scholarship Selection Committee is headed by Charlie's son and daughter, Ryan and Heather Hillard, and Charlie's wife, Doreen Hillard.

As a boy,
he dreamed of himself sailing through the air.
Feeling free – without limits.

As a teen,
he began to understand what it would take to turn his dreams into a reality.
And then, he flew.
All the while his dreams continued to grow along with him.

As a man,
he was fully living his dreams, reaching all of his very lofty goals.
But now, he held the heartfelt belief that the flight path to each of his goals, to each of his dreams, carried as much glory, maybe even more, than reaching the goal itself.

Charlie Loved Life


The recipient must be a young man or woman between the ages of 18 and 30, and the scholarship monies must be used to begin or continue flight training. Scholarship Amount: $2,000.

Application Details

Applications received by December 31 will be considered the following January by the selection committee.  Selections will be made in February.

Online Application | Print Application

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Upcoming Dates

December 3-6, 2018 ICAS Convention in Las Vegas
December 31, 2018 Scholarship Applications Due
August 1, 2019 Hall of Fame Nominations Due