First Air Force Academy Partnership with HBCU

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Since 2018, the U.S. Air Force (USAF) has been exploring ways to broaden the representation of its talent pool. One initiative among these efforts, the Aim High Flight Academy (AFHA), is now partnering with Tennessee State University (TSU), the first HBCU to host the annual program. 

Organized by the Air Force Recruiting Service Detachment 1, the AHFA is a three-week introductory flight training initiative that is scholarship-funded by the USAF in partnership with universities and flight training schools across the country. The award pays for all necessary expenses, including accommodations, meals, and travel, which expands access to aspiring pilots from a wider range of backgrounds.

Supported in part by a $500,000 grant from the Federal Aviation Administration to TSU, AHFA enrolled 19 high school students in this cohort, aged 16 to 18, for a unique program featuring lectures and flight simulations on campus, followed by hands-on training at John C. Tune Airport. AHFA pairs participants with seasoned USAF professionals who mentor them on the various career paths available. By the end of the program, students will have up to 15 hours of flight training that will go toward the requirements for a pilot license, as well as a robust experience with STEM and robotics.

The mission of the AHFA is to educate, empower, and excite the next generation of aviation leaders. Their focus is not only on engaging with potential future USAF officers but also nurturing skills in aviation maintenance, contributing to the industry’s growth and ensuring aircraft safety. 

This week wraps up the 2024 academy, which began June 1 and is set to finish June 21. The application for summer 2025 is scheduled to open this fall. No prior flying experience is required, and participation does not entail any obligation to join the Air Force.