Two Air Force JROTC cadets from Republic are among the 150 students worldwide to win a top scholarship intended to help train new pilots. Allison Zahner and Taylon East have earned the 2019 Flight Academy Private Pilot Scholarship from Maxwell Air
Force Base in Montgomery, Alabama.
More than 1,500 cadets applied for the scholarship, which is worth about $20,000. The scholarship will allow Zahner and East to attend a summer program at one of the partnering universities for private pilot licensing training. The program is an initiative in collaboration with the commercial aviation industry to address a national civilian and military pilot shortage. It will cover transportation, room and board, academics and flight hours required to potentially earn a private pilot license.
Air Force JROTC has been charged by the Air Force Aircrew Crisis Task Force to bring back the “luster of aviation” to high school students and increase diversity in aviation fields. Participants are not obligated to join the the Air Force or other branch of service.
Zahner, who does hope to attend the Air Force Academy, said she was “ecstatic––overwhelmed with shock and joy” when she found out she’d received her scholarship. She knew she had put in a lot of work on the application and had a “good chance of being selected. However, there was a doubt in the back of my mind because being a part of 150 selected applicants out of about 1,560 were very slim.”
Zahner has visited the Air Force Academy campus and begun the application process. “I am hoping that this scholarship will increase my chances of getting accepted into the Academy and that I can pursue my career as an aeronautical engineer and/or a pilot for the military.”