Ben Wiplinger Memorial Seaplane Scholarship

Applications are now closed for the 2017 Ben Wiplinger Memorial Seaplane Rating Scholarship. We will announce this year’s recipients as soon as they are selected. Thank you for your interest!

Announcing the 2017 Ben Wiplinger Memorial Seaplane Rating Scholarship

Ben Wiplinger with his SkywagonJanuary 5, 2017 – Wipaire is once again pleased to announce that the Ben Wiplinger Memorial Seaplane Rating Scholarship will be returning for a third year. We received many excellent applications again in 2016 and in the end three scholarships were awarded. The scholarship was established in 2015 in celebration of Wipaire’s 55th anniversary and Ben Wiplinger’s contributions to aviation. Applications will be accepted through May 31st, 2017.

“This scholarship started as a way for us to celebrate our 55th anniversary and our heritage, but it has become an important part of what we do to give back to the seaplane community and invest in new seaplane pilots,” said Chuck Wiplinger, President and COO of Wipaire, Inc. “We continue to be impressed by the field of applicants we receive, and we enjoy seeing how passionate people are about seaplane flying. We are proud to support our industry and the seaplane community while remembering my grandfather and his vision.”

Ben Wiplinger, founder of Wipline, Inc., began his aviation career by building a Pietenpol Air Camper. He worked as a machinist, auto body technician, and aircraft mechanic before later serving in the Army Air Forces as a mechanic. After the war, Ben returned home to South St. Paul and began converting ex-military aircraft into executive and corporate aircraft with his business, Wiplinger Aircraft Service.
Ben purchased his first seaplane in 1951 and wanted to become a dealer for EDO, then the largest float manufacturer in the world. Ben’s application was not approved, so he sold Wiplinger Aircraft Service and set out to build his own floats, establishing Wipline, Inc. in 1960. Many of the features Ben incorporated in the first set of Wipline floats remain standard today.

Ben passed away in 1992. He left the company, now known as Wipaire, to his son Bob, who today serves as the Chief Executive Officer. Ben’s grandson Chuck now works alongside Bob as President and Chief Operating Officer of Wipaire. Ben’s contributions to aviation were recognized in 1999 when he was inducted into the Minnesota Aviation Hall of Fame, and his legacy continues to impact pilots and aircraft owners today.

The scholarship is valued at $1,500 and funds will be paid directly to the winner’s flight school. Alaska Float Ratings has graciously offered an additional $500 towards winners that complete their training at Alaska Float Ratings in Moose Pass, Alaska. Our thanks to Vern Kingsford and Alaska Float Ratings for this generous offer. Applicants must hold a sport pilot license or higher, and must submit the application form and a 500-word essay that includes why the applicant would like to learn to fly seaplanes, and how the scholarship will help in career or aviation industry aspirations. Applicants must also submit a copy of pilot certificate, and copy of current medical (if applicable), and must be a legal resident of the United States or Canada, excluding the province of Quebec.

The application form may be downloaded at and will also be available at Wipaire displays at trade shows. Due to the number of applications received, applications will not be returned or acknowledged. Entries must be received by May 31st, 2017.

Click here to read about our 2015 scholarship recipients receiving their ratings.