Air Force Offers Free Pilot Training to High Schoolers

The US Air Force JROTC program is paying the way for 120 high school cadets to receive a Private Pilot License:

Beginning in the summer of 2018, select AFJROTC cadets who applied for a new Fight Academy scholarship will attend an accredited aviation program at one of six partnering universities to get a private pilot license.

The press release presents it as a means to address the pilot shortage — though these cadets won’t enter the active duty military as officers, much less pilots, for at least another four to five years (by which time, given the military’s history, the shortage could have become an overage).

The program comes at no small cost, with a PPL program likely costing between $5,000 and $10,000 per cadet. Despite the outlay, the Air Force apparently requires no commitment from the cadets:

“We understand not all of the cadets graduating from the Flight Academy will elect to take a military track, but that’s OK as those young people electing to enter commercial aviation will have a positive impact on the overall national crisis,” said Brig. Gen. Michael Koscheski, Air Force Aircrew Crisis Task Force director.

Cool gig, if you can get it.