For one Troy University Air Force ROTC cadet, “off we go into the wild blue yonder” is taking on a literal meaning this summer.
Cadet Colonel Savannah Farris, a senior rehabilitation and disabilities studies major from Killen and newly appointed cadet wing commander for Detachment 017, is taking to the skies as one of just 47 cadets nationwide selected for the Aviation Experience Scholarship.
The fully-funded scholarship will allow Farris to attend an 8-week aviation program at Liberty University to earn a Federal Aviation Administration Private Pilot Certificate June 3 – July 27.
Typically, earning the private pilot rating can cost $9,000 or more, and the scholarship covers the costs, plus lodging and three meals per day.
“Training like this isn’t cheap, and to have one of Det. 17’s cadets compete and get selected for this opportunity shows the caliber of cadets we have in our program at Troy University,” said Lt. Col. Stephen Cox, the Detachment’s commander and professor of aerospace studies. “Opportunities like this allow Cadet Farris and other cadets to get exposure and gain education in aviation careers in the Air Force, and getting ‘stick time’ in an aircraft increases their knowledge base and has a proven effect on their ability to compete for rated careers.”
A ‘rated career’ in the Air Force includes pilot, combat system officer, drone pilots and air battle managers. Not only do cadets have to meet the same requirements as any other officer job, but they also have to score well on the rated portions of the Air Force Officer Qualification test.
“I am so thankful and excited to be granted the opportunity to attain my private pilot license,” Farris said. “This opportunity will open so many doors, both personally and professionally, and I’m looking forward to both the challenges faced and lessons learned during the next eight weeks.”
“I have a great support system with my family at home and at the detachment, and that has given me the confidence and desire to make the best of this program,” she said.
TROY’s Det. 17 has 42 cadets, seven of whom are attending special professional development training opportunities this summer. The detachment graduated and commissioned five seniors in May.