Summer Navy Program Brings Opportunity For 20 High School Students

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The U.S. Navy announced today (June 14) that it has named 20 high school students to its eight-week U.S. Navy Summer Flight Academy. Conducted at either Delaware State University in Dover or Elizabeth City (North Carolina) State University, the program awards five college credits to those who complete the regimen, as well as a private pilot certificate.

Established last year by the Commander of Naval Air Forces to increase diversity in naval aviation, the cost of the program (pegged at approximately $24,000 per student) is free to participants.

Each candidate experiences 32 hours of classroom aviation academics at a minimum and 49 hours of flight training, including 17 hours of solo flight. Aircraft used include either the Italian-built single-engine Vulcanair V.10 or the Piper PA-28 Warrior.

Commander Chris “Frozone” Williams, a Navy fighter pilot, instructor, and USN Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, said, “The primary goal of the scholarship program is to expose exceptional minority students to a career path that currently lacks diversity. These 20 students have what it takes to be leaders in the field of aviation, and the Navy is honored to play a part in their personal and professional journey.”

Mark Phelps is a senior editor at AVweb. He is an instrument rated private pilot and former owner of a Grumman American AA1B and a V-tail Bonanza.

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29 COMMENTS

  1. One guess at what color ‘fro zone’ is… this program is illegal and unconstitutional on its racist face. I would sue if there was more money involved to make it worth my time.

    Yes, anyone can sue on behalf of the people of the United States … any government agency when the money is unlawfully by any person or entity. You can make big money doing it… enough to buy that new Cirrus Jet you always wanted.

    • Plenty of poor white people… and Hispanic now claimed as white people…. how inclusive.
      This is dangerous at best. Pilots should be selected based on skill and ability to learn, not he color of their skin. Thanks to woke idiots, we will run out of electricity, and fuel cost will prohibit most GA flight.

      • Well, I agree at least that pilots need to demonstrate the ability to fly (in other words, meet ACS criteria). This program does not modify ACS criteria, so I fail to see what the problem is. Their ability to learn will be demonstrated, or they do not become PPL holders.

        “Thanks to woke idiots, we will run out of electricity, and fuel cost will prohibit most GA flight.”

        Wow, what a magnificent demonstration of logic there. Guessing you must be captain of your debate team.

  2. Former Navy pilot here. If I were looking towards a professional flying career, I would NOT be looking towards military aviation, Air Force or Navy, the Top Gun hype notwithstanding. Just too much bureaucratic b.s. and and political correctness now-a-days. Not only is the selection process unconstitutional, the criteria necessarily eliminates for consideration candidates who might be better qualified with a superior aptitude for the program. Same problem with nominating the ‘first black woman’ for the Supreme Court. How many better qualified candidates were overlooked because they weren’t the right race and gender?

    • Sir. As of the last census there were approximately 42.2% of American’s who were not Caucasian.
      What makes America unique if not altogether great IS our ethnic diversity. This is analogous to most successful animal and plant ecosystems. It is what successful large organizations, like corporations, attempt to duplicate to keep their organization responsive to the dynamics of changing business environments.
      Promoting the folks who are not part of the majority or “same old”, is actually a good thing for them and for the country.
      Keeping things the way they are and concentrating power in the hands of a few is what leads to, basically, lousy outcomes for everyone. A current prime example is Russia. Past examples of over centralized power are Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy, and we all know how poorly that went.

      • I think Rick K. and Dennis both have a point here. Put another way, 3 out of 10 Americans are white guys, and 9 out of 10 commercial pilots are white guys. That’s clearly a well-documented and objective imbalance, caused by myriad factors and not easily solved. We don’t all have the same equality of opportunity (another point well documented). An opportunity provided by this Navy program to 20 underserved high school kids gives others a “seat at the table,” so to speak.

        Of course, there is such a thing as excessive bureaucracy associated with this, per Dennis’ point. I can sympathize, as it feels like at times, we get bogged down in endless DEI training and workshops. I question whether these initiatives make a difference sometimes, but given the toxic commentary here by some, clearly there’s a need. I don’t mind spending time and effort ensuring those that haven’t had the opportunities I’ve had to succeed get a leg up. This shouldn’t be a difficult or threatening concept for people.

    • I agree the officer system is designed to separate classes of people. It was designed to keep people that couldn’t pay for a degree in basket weaving from entering the officer ranks. So yes, there is a class discrimination in all military branches. The military is based on the poor pitiful being sent to protect the rich and powerful.
      Even the medals and awards are presented with great discrimination in this class system. An occasional soldier is given a Medal of Honor to appease the lower class fighters to keep them motivated.
      Poor will always be available as Cannon fodder for the officers flying over head dropping million dollar bombs on them.

  3. This is all you need to know; “USN Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion”. Opportunity has been replaced by “Equity”. “Diversity and Inclusion” means you MUST agree, support, and provide passionate adulation towards an individuals sexual proclivities that you may disagree with for a host of personal reasons and not so long ago where considered perverse/abnormal behaviors – or…… you will be punished and have your career ended.

      • You are kidding right? If you need some links to some recent AF times pieces that explain how the AF is now allowing make believe pronouns in official email signatures and how the AF is considering a policy to allow members to request a PCS from states that don’t pass legislation that meet a “woke” description of human rights, specifically they are considering allowing troops to leave bases in Florida because the people of Florida passed a law that prohibits the sexualization of k-3rd grade students. So with this extreme push to mainstream sexual proclivities, you believe that an airman would not suffer the wrath if he/she verbalized a conservative view towards these issues publicly?

  4. This program cost 20 x $24,000 = $480,000 or roughly 1/3 of a cent per US taxpayer. Regardless of how you feel about the legitimacy of the program – this doesn’t even register on the list of government/military boondoggles that any of us should be concerned about.

    At that price, heck, let’s each pay $1 and let’s expand the program and increase it to 300 high school students. That’s about the cost of 1/5 of an F/A-18. I’m sure we can afford that.

      • The obvious issue is that these programs are based on RACE, skin pigmentation and gender. These programs do nothing but check a political to do list box. They do nothing for that poor caucasian male teenager who is living in a dis-functional household, doing his best in school and working part-time jobs to help pay the bills and who dreams of one day becoming a pilot but can’t afford new clothes while the wealthy, “under represented” kids from the best private schools who think its cool to fly but really haven’t given it much thought have it handed to them on a platter.

  5. I love the idea of High Schoolers being given the opportunity to learn aviation and to fly, at least it gets them off their phones. It should include everyone. However, the waste here is $24000 for flight training? I am a CFII and most of my students get their ratings in about $10,000 to $12,000. We are paying $24000. This looks like government waste. Oh for the record I have never had a student fail a check ride. SO I read this article as excluding certain individuals and government water.