Aaron Loya, a Rome High School Air Force Junior ROTC cadet, participated in the Chief of Staff of the Air Force Flight Academy Scholarship program this summer. While there, Loya spent two successful months of training to earn his pilot’s license.

“I applied for the program back in the Fall of 2018 and was informed this spring that I had made the cut,” said Loya. “Basically, the Flight Academy Scholarship program is a two-month long camp where we trained for flight for every day before testing to receive our pilot license.”

Loya attended the Air Force Flight Academy Scholarship program at Kansas State Polytechnic, Manhattan, Kansas.

“Kansas was very flat, but it was a good change of scenery. To be able to get to see another part of the country was incredible,” said Loya. “What I found most interesting was how close the university is to Wichita, which is one of the founding areas of aviation, so there was a lot of history surrounding the program.”

According to Loya, the program was very intensive. “We flight trained almost every day. During that time, we would go out in the morning and fly, and then we attended a ground school which was basically a classroom setting.”

This year, the Air Force Junior ROTC awarded 120 cadet scholarships. This number could potentially grow in the future, increasing to 250 next year and 500 the year after. There are also plans to open the program to Army, Navy and Marine Junior ROTC programs as well as Civil Air Patrol cadets by 2020.

“My goal is to go to the Air Force Academy in college and hopefully become a pilot for the Air Force. This was truly a great opportunity for me to gain valuable experience. It also gives me early exposure to aviation so that I know what it’s like, know how to perform and know what the expectations are,” said Loya.

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