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Air Force ROTC Offers Free Training for Students to Get Private Pilot’s License

The U.S. Air Force is offering Stetson students the opportunity to earn their private pilot’s license at no cost if they enroll in the Air Force ROTC program – with no commitment to serve in the military.

Air Force Capt. Daniel Q. Speir said the deadline is Monday, Jan. 21, for students to contact him and express an interest in the AFROTC “You Can Fly” program, which provides the civilian ground and flight training needed to earn a private pilot’s license at no cost.

In exchange, students must enroll in the two courses needed in the first year of ROTC, Air Force 101 and Air Force 102, along with participating in four hours of fitness training and marching per week.

“Right now, the Air Force is about 5,000 pilots short and they are trying to find creative ways to get people interested in the Air Force,” said Speir, assistant professor of Aerospace Studies, Detachment 157, Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps, at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach.

“It may sound too good to be true. There is no service commitment to the military. They want you to be able to try it out and see if it’s for you,” he said.

The three stand together in the Lynn Business Center lobby.
From left to right, Capt. Joseph Walters, assistant professor of Aerospace Studies; Col. Jason Patla, Detachment commander; and Neal P. Mero, Ph.D., dean and professor of Management in Stetson’s School of Business Administration, welcome Air Force ROTC to Stetson’s DeLand campus in August 2018.

Students can select from a list of accredited general-aviation flight schools. Fees may vary by location. But Speir said getting a private pilot’s license can cost about $5,000 and, through this program, the Air Force will pay for it for qualified students.

Stetson welcomed the Air Force ROTC program to campus last fall. Currently, two students are enrolled and “10 to 15 are in the pipeline” for Fall Semester 2019, Speir said.

For more info about the “You Can Fly” program or about Stetson’s Air Force ROTC program, email Capt. Speir at SPEIRD@erau.edu.