Teens learn to fly at LU as part of $2.4 million Air Force grant

Logan Blevins, one of the JROTC students taking part in the pilot program at Liberty University. (WSET)

LYNCHBURG, Va. (WSET) -- A new program at Liberty University is setting up students as young as 17 to become pilots.

This is the first week of training for students at the Aeronautics Center.

The program is an effort to address a pilot shortage nationwide, and students say they're ready to get in the cockpit.

Liberty's School of Aeronautics is one of 6 different schools that are giving 120 JROTC cadets the chance to fly high.

"The Air Force contacted us to throw out the idea of running a high school program for their JROTC Air Force cadets because of a pilot shortage," High school program coordinator Katie Wagner said.

Right now the Air Force is short about 2,000 pilots.

"The first week is mostly ground school then they'll get a few simulator lessons and then they'll take their first flight on Saturday," Wagner said. "It's high school students so they're very motivated."

"The first time I've ever flew was about three years ago and I've loved it every since," Logan Blevins, said. "Once you're in the air you can just kind of enjoy that peace up there."

Blevins is from Branson, Missouri and is one of the students selected for the course.

"I want to go on into aerospace engineering, and in order to do that you have to have a very good understanding of aerodynamics," he said. "And being able to actually fly i think will give me a good sense of application."

At the end of the 8 week program, Blevins and the other cadets can try for their pilot's license.

They say the're extremely excited for the opportunity.

"To be one of the 120 that not only heard about this program but got selected for this program, it's an honor, it really is," Blevins said.

The instructors said there's no age restriction for the course but you have to be 17-years-old to to take the exam for your pilot's license.

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