Aerospace engineering undergraduate student earns Soaring Society of America scholarship


Philip Chidekel, an aerospace engineering and meteorology undergraduate student, is the recipient of the 2017 Paul Kolstad College Scholarship grant from the Soaring Society of America (SSA).

The grant is intended to help finance college-level study and inspire young pilots to progress from basic glider flying to advanced sport soaring. Scholarship winners are selected from young soaring-pilot, SSA member and U.S.A. citizen applicants who are of great service at a U.S.A. gliderport.

Chidekel, who was a unanimous choice for the Kolstad Scholarship by the SSA judges, has been flying since he was 13 and holds a commercial pilot certificate. He is also president of the Penn State Soaring Club.

He also holds three SSA Pennsylvania state soaring records in the Youth category: Free Out and Return Distance (130 miles), Free 3-Turnpoint Distance (200 miles) and Distance up to 3 Turnpoints (197 miles). In 2017, Chidekel placed third in the SSA’s US Junior Camp and Contest.


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Chris Spallino

Phil Chidekel

Phil Chidekel shown flying Brandywine Soaring Association’s Piper Pawnee towplane.



The Penn State Department of Aerospace Engineering, established in 1961 and the only aerospace engineering department in Pennsylvania, is consistently recognized as one of the top aerospace engineering departments in the nation, and is also an international leader in aerospace education, research, and engagement. Our undergraduate program is ranked 15th and our graduate programs are ranked 15th nationally by U.S. News & World Report, while one in 25 holders of a B.S. degree in aerospace engineering in the U.S. earned it from Penn State. Our students are consistently among the most highly recruited by industry, government, and graduate schools nationwide.

The department is built upon the fundamentals of academic integrity, innovation in research, and commitment to the advancement of industry. Through an innovative curriculum and world-class instruction that reflects current industry practice and embraces future trends, Penn State Aerospace Engineering graduates emerge as broadly educated, technically sound aerospace engineers who will become future leaders in a critical industry

Department of Aerospace Engineering

229 Hammond Building

The Pennsylvania State University

University Park, PA 16802

Phone: 814-865-2569