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Adam Sciupac isn’t the only little kid who dreamed of becoming a professional airline pilot, but he’s one of the lucky ones who found a way to make it happen. Thanks to a lot of hard work and persistence on Adam’s part, plus a little help from Hebrew Free Loan, he now flies for PSA Airlines (a regional subsidiary of American).

At 26, he’s also a recent college graduate who put himself through school, working as a flight instructor to earn a degree in aviation administration. Adam’s next step, if all goes well, is to find an opportunity at a major airline with a broader geographic reach.

But the Covid-19 pandemic came close to derailing his dreams. Adam — like a third of all pilots in the U.S. — was furloughed when people stopped flying. As the pandemic stretched on, no one knew if or when the airline industry would bounce back. Without a job, Adam couldn’t cover his tuition or living expenses to finish school. That’s when he turned to Hebrew Free Loan.

Adam had received an interest-free Student loan from us a few years earlier to assist with the costs of flight training (which can add up to $100,000 for the necessary hours). At the time, he wasn’t sure whether a student loan could even be used for something like that, but he took a risk and applied. Adam’s passion for flying and his determination impressed all of the Hebrew Free Loan staff who worked with him, and we were honored to play a part in helping his dream come true.

It was natural for Adam to reach out again last summer, when he needed an interest-free Coronavirus Impact loan to get through his last two semesters of college after losing his job. In addition to completing the classes for his aviation administration degree, he also studied computer programming, in case he couldn’t find work as a pilot during the Covid era. While Adam was heartbroken at the thought of not being able to fly professionally, he faced the possibility head-on and made plans for whatever might come.

“The interest-free loan from Hebrew Free Loan made a world of difference. A weight lifted off my shoulders and I could finish my degree while I was furloughed. I’m now flying again and closer than ever to my dreams!”

As it turned out Adam was rehired at PSA, and he feels excited all over again to be flying planes for a living. He recently closed on his first home in Charlotte, North Carolina, where PSA relocated him a few years ago. His ties remain strong to the Bay Area, where his family lives.

When Adam thinks back to growing up in the South Bay as the child of immigrant parents from Uruguay and Argentina, he’s grateful for all who helped him on his journey. At six, he started attending monthly programs at Hiller Aviation Museum in San Carlos. At eight, someone from his synagogue took him up in a plane for the first time. Later he joined the EAA Young Eagles, where volunteer pilots took him flying. And then there’s the customer he served while working at Starbucks, who introduced him to a supportive community of pilots who provided advice and encouragement while Adam worked toward his goals.

Adam hopes to serve as a mentor to other young pilots, and he gets a lot of satisfaction from teaching others to fly. He’ll keep on looking for ways to give back, as his own life continues to unfold.

“Seeing is believing that this type of support exists in the community. I’m so grateful for Hebrew Free Loan and everyone who helped me pursue my dreams.”