To build and spread passion for aviation and the joy and excitement of becoming pilots to deserving youth. To help create more pilots in military, general and commercial aviation as well as in related careers by providing inspiration, training and experience.
The Matthew Shope Memorial Fly High Scholarships was created to Celebrate the life and passion of Matthew Shope. Matthew was passionate about flying. He wanted desperately to share that passion and to teach teenagers to fly. As such, the organizations core mission is to provide flight training scholarships to young Americans to achieve their dream of flight.
Matthew was born in Long Beach CA on November 4, 1992. He went to Los Altos Grace Brethren Elementary School and McAuliffe Middle School. He attended Los Alamitos High School and graduated from Long Beach Unified Schools in June, 2011. He was very active in the Jazz bands for all three schools playing the trumpet and Sax.
Matthew developed his interest in flying at the age of 11. For his 12th birthday we took him on an introductory flight to Catalina. He taught himself flight basics on the Microsoft flight simulator. As a middle school student, he wanted to be a “Bush Pilot” in Alaska.
At the age of 14, he found out about the Civil Air Patrol. He joined the Los Alamitos Squadron 153 June 6, 2007 and found out he could take Glider flying lessons. He soloed and got his glider license at the age of 15. He transferred to the Fullerton Composite Squadron 56 in December 2009. He proceeded to hook up with several Certified Flight Instructors for flying lessons. On his 16th birthday, November 4, 2008, he soloed and obtained his single engine pilot’s license. Shope continued to train and earn additional FAA certifications, including passing the FAA Commercial Pilot license exam at 18. Shope earned an FAA Ground Instructor certificate and was a Certified Flight Instructor.
In CAP, he was very active in Emergency Services. He went on many missions including doing work at the base during the 2008 San Diego Fires. He received a Disaster Recovery Ribbon with a “V” device for his participation in AFRCC Mission 08-1-3300 and had two “Finds”. He attended the Colorado Encampment in 2008 and the California Encampment in 2009 as staff. He became a mission pilot for CAP.
Matthew attended and completed many CAP National events including Specialized Undergraduate Pilot Training Familiarization Course at Columbus AF Base, Mississippi, National Emergency Services Academy at Camp Atterbury, Indiana, Pararescue and Survival Orientation Course 2009 and Advanced Pararescue and Survival Orientation Course in Arizona 2010.
Matthew was also a member of Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) Chapter 12 and Young Eagles in Long Beach as well as AAOP.
Matthew was in the process of creating his own business “Teen Flyers” to teach teens how to fly, however on the morning of July 23, 2011, Matthew departed from the Corona Airport on an introductory training flight with 19-year-old Pedro Torres in a single engine American Aviation AA-1A Trainer. Shortly after takeoff the trainer stalled and crashed, killing both of them. A witness said she thought of him as a hero as he managed not to crash into her house with two of herself and two children inside.
Matthew’s desire was to do two years at Cypress College in the Aviation program, two years at California University at San Luis Obispo while doing ROTC. He planned to get his commission into the United States Air Force to fly fighters. He also wanted to eventually become a commercial pilot.