JROTC students achieve first solo flights at Washington-Warren airport

WASHINGTON, N.C. (WITN) — Today was a milestone for high school students from Air Force JROTC programs across the country as they took their first solo flights at Washington-Warren Airport.

These students are part of a course aimed at obtaining their private pilot licenses in just two months.

The participants, top students from their respective programs, celebrated their solo flights with a traditional ceremony, cutting the tail of their shirts—a long-standing aviation custom.

D2 Flight Academy, in partnership with the United States Air Force, is providing the training for these aspiring aviators. While enrolled in the program, students are staying at East Carolina University and receiving additional training from the university.

“I have always wanted to pursue a career in aviation since I was young, and being able to do this and finally fly by myself means a lot. I accomplished something,” said Jack Schimel, a JROTC student.

Schimel added, “I hope to get my private pilot’s certificate. That is my goal, along with meeting new people and learning from them. I want to take everything I learned here into my future career in aviation, and I’m thinking about joining the Air Force.”

Jake Alchin, a D2 flight instructor, reflected on the significance of the day. “My first solo was June 16, 2021, so almost exactly three years later, I am now sending my first students up. It is a tremendous honor for me. But at the end of the day, it isn’t about me; it is about these talented young men and women.”

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