Students in Alice are having their education take flight. The Kali Aviation program brings an opportunity for students to prepare for a career in the skies!
Our Simone Simpson spoke with Cliff Moriarty of the program. He served 26 years in the Air Force as a Cold War Warrior. He knows how crucial it is for those retiring to have the younger generation step up to the piloting role.
Cliff says that “within the next 10-15 years, we’ll need roughly 100,000 new pilots to work in commercial aviation, general aviation, and of course military aviation.”
With the demand for young men and women to learn how to fly, Samantha Gray is grateful that Alice High School’s Air Force Junior ROTC is taking advantage of the Civil Air Patrol Program to get new pilots off the ground.
“If you don’t have someone to pilot the planes,” Gray said, “You don’t have that extra support. You don’t have those life saving avenues that our community, our area, really need.”
Cadet programs offer students free flights in an airplane, where they can take up the controls and have fun flying. Jonathan Vela is a first cadet of JROTC. This would be his second time taking flight.
“Possibly my favorite part has to be when you’re going up in the air and your ears pop that gets like, that’s the best part to me.”
Meanwhile, Alan O’Martin has been flying since he was 18, and has worked in Civil Air Patrol for 20 years. He’s hoping to inspire more students like Jonathan who have a passion for flight.
“I think getting into aviation can change your life. Anybody can get into it.” He says, “People from all walks of life history, art, it doesn’t matter if you’re in the sciences or not particularly, but aviation is just a great thing to get into and I think there’s a good future for aviation in general.”
After exiting the first of 8 flights taking place today, Jonathan just had one thing to say: “I loved it. Can’t wait to go up again.”
And Cliff is hoping that Jonathan’s enthusiasm is infectious.
“For all of our 16 cadets that will be flying today, it’s a significant event in their life. It could be life changing event if they realize, wow flying is a lot of fun. And someday they’d love to do it.”
It’s his hope that getting younger minds into flight will take off.