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OSU and USAF partner to hold Cowboy Flight Academy for young aviators.

OSU aviation and space partners with the United States Air Force to host Cowboy Flight Academy

Monday, September 20, 2021

Media Contact: Katie Lacey | Communications Specialist | 405-744-9347 |

Oklahoma State University’s aviation and space program — in partnership with the United States Air Force — held the first-ever Cowboy Flight Academy this past summer, which resulted in 10 young aviators obtaining their private pilot licenses through a condensed eight-week process. 

“This was an incredibly impressive feat, given that it normally takes students in our program about one year to earn their private pilot license,” said Lance Fortney, OSU Flight School manager. 

Funded by the U.S. Air Force through Air Force Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC), the academy's goal was to expose cadets to the aviation career field in hopes they persist, either as a member of the military or as an aviation student at OSU. Similar programs are hosted by universities across the country. 

“The OSU Flight Center has wanted to host this program for several years and this was the first summer we felt we had the resources to host our own academy,” said Nate Anders, OSU aviation graduate student.

Participants flew with OSU certified flight instructors an average of two times a day, six days per week. In addition to acquiring flight hours, the cadets completed and passed the OSU undergraduate course: Theory of Flight. They also traveled outside the classroom to tour Vance Air Force Base in Enid, Oklahoma. 

“Overall, it was a very positive experience on all sides,” Fortney said. “It was a unique opportunity to engage with students who were solely focused on flying, 24 hours a day, seven days a week for eight weeks.”

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