Aim High Flight Academy offers to take students to new heights

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Moises Vasquez
  • 673d Air Base Wing Public Affairs

As part of an Aviation Inspiration and Mentorship (AIM) Wing event for high-school students, a team of recruiters and supporting Airmen traveled together to Kodiak, Alaska, Sept. 6, to raise awareness for a program geared toward highlighting potential career opportunities.

The team spoke to high-school aged students about the Aim High Flight Academy, a three-week scholarship program designed to inspire youth to explore opportunities in aviation through the AIM program. Students accepted to the program receive one-on-one training from U.S. Air Force pilots and other certified flight instructors both in the classroom and in the air with the goal of earning 15 flight hours. The application window is now open and closes Oct. 15.

U.S. Air Force 1st Lt. Ryan Kenney, Aim High Flight Academy program manager assigned to Air Force Recruiting Service Detachment 1, Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph, Texas, said the detachment and supporting staff are tackling the Rated Diversity Improvement strategy – a Chief of Staff of the Air Force initiative to attract, recruit, develop and retain a diverse rated corps.

“The AHFA is an introductory flight-training scholarship that the Air Force funds on behalf of the RDI initiative and is available to students around the world,” said Kenney. “In the program’s three weeks, it provides aviation training which includes ground training, simulator training and actual flying with certified flight instructors. This is conducted through the educational service agreements we have with different universities and flight training schools.”

Kenney explained the benefits of the program: meals, lodging and even chaperones are provided by the host university. The Air Force also assigns current service members to the locations where their sole task is to explain the different processes to join the Air Force and to mentor the students attending the training.

Jason Fox, school counselor at Kodiak High School said he was impressed with the
information that the AHFA representatives shared with students and faculty in Kodiak. He also noted the team’s energy and their eagerness to provide significant promotional material for the event.

“During the visit, students seemed interested in the opportunity that the AHFA includes,” said Fox. “Future careers in aviation are highly attractive, especially for rural Alaska students who do often rely on small aircraft travel. The opportunities after completion of the AHFA program with the Air Force offer a great pathway for students who are interested in aviation and potential officer careers in the armed forces.”

Ariana Wynter Dougherty, a ninth grade student of Kodiak High School, said the AHFA visiting her school was inspiring for her and many others, and has provided her some possibilities of who she would want to be in the future.

U.S. Air Force Capt. Michael Walsleben, an AIM Wing team lead for the visit, said his organization also partners with the Civil Air Patrol and the Boys and Girls Clubs, volunteering for team-building activities while executing their core mission to increase awareness of the AHFA’s aviation opportunities.

“What we're doing here in Alaska is a part of our broader program,” said “We essentially find certain cities every year we want to visit, then we take a large team to those cities for three days to a week, and depending on the size of the city and how many events we can set up we talk to as many schools as possible. If everyone applies for AHFA, and if everyone applies to be a pilot in the Air Force, then we will get the absolute best of the best to represent America.”

For more information on the AHFA, click the link below.