RIVERSIDE, Ohio (WDTN) – The birthplace of aviation is fostering a new crop of aviators. Several Miami Valley high school students will be part of a select, nationwide group in a summer flight training academy.
Stebbins High School junior Ian Haaf and Beavercreek High School sophomore Joseph Wilson both earned Air Force Chief of Staff Flight Academy scholarships for the 2019 session. The JROTC cadets are among the 150 students selected nationwide from more than 1,560 applications.
“It feels great (to be selected),” said Haaf. “It feels like the luckiest thing that could’ve happened to me.”
The scholarship, worth more than $20,000, will cover room, board, supplies and flight training during the program. Participants graduate with a private pilot’s license and up to twelve college credits.
Haaf said he originally joined the Stebbins JROTC with aspirations to become a military engineer, but the opportunity is opening up new career possibilities.
“I’ll probably, after that, go into being a pilot,” he said. “Whether that’s the Air Force, Navy or maybe not even go into the military and just go into commercial airlines.
The Flight Academy Scholarship Program does not require a military commitment from students. It’s a collaboration between the U.S. Air Force and commercial aviation industry to address a national civilian and military pilot shortage.
Stebbins JROTC instructor Lt. Col. David Yunt hopes Haaf and Wilson’s experiences continue to inspire other cadets.
“It’s amazing. It’s huge. It means a lot for the program,” said Lt. Col. David Yunt. “Not only does it mean a lot for Cadet Haaf, it means a lot for the other students that can see that this is something that they can actually work towards and get in future years.”
During its inaugural year in 2018, the Flight Academy accepted 120 applicants. It plans to expand admission as funding becomes available, with hopes of opening the program to Army, Navy, and Marine Junior ROTC programs as well as Civil Air Patrol cadets by 2020.
To learn more about the Air Force JROTC and Flight Academy programs, click here.