Air Force ROTC Students Receive Unique Scholarship to Learn to Fly in Order to Further Support National Defense Strategy

April 1, 2023

The Air Force You Can Fly (AFYCF) Program grants applicants the opportunity to explore a flying career and to increase aviation knowledge by granting them up to $3,500 towards a Private Pilot Certificate (PPC) at a local Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Part 141 Certified Flight School.
From left to right: Luke Landkamer, Ethan Forcade, Shelby Stevens, Maggie Gochenour, Eddie Morrissette

Written By: Capt Matthew Smith 

University of Nebraska-Lincoln Air Force ROTC Cadets earned a $3,500 flying scholarship late last year designed to help shape their future careers and assist the Air Force with recruiting, training, and retaining its next generation of aviation professionals. 

The annual Air Force You Can Fly (AFYCF) scholarship granted 5 UNL cadets who all have diverse backgrounds the opportunity to explore a career in aviation before they ultimately decide what career field they would like to pursue. The Air Force offers a plethora of career opportunities outside of flying and employ highly talented lawyers, nurses, law enforcement officers, engineers, and more. However, critically undermanned positions are going unfilled, and the Air Force is actively looking for creative ways to attract some of the best talent the country has to offer into the world of aviation.

Air Force ROTC Cadet Luke Landkamer, a senior at UNL majoring in Mechanical Engineering amassed over 20 hours of pilot training so far using this scholarship. “I was pursuing Combat Systems Officer” Luke said, “but after getting more time in the cockpit, thanks to this scholarship, I decided to go for Pilot instead.”

A small investment such as this by the Air Force early in the cadet lifecycle can help save the Air Force millions of future training dollars if they are able to find the right people who decide they want to make flying a career and retain them for a longer period of time. “It has been a great experience and has made me passionate about flying.”

It is not uncommon for individuals to get the bug once they start getting time in the sky. Sophomore Cadet and Omaha native, Eddie Morrissette experienced this firsthand when he began flying lessons late last year. The only flying experience Cadet Morrissette has is being a passenger on a commercial flight. “Before the experiences I’ve gained through this scholarship, I was debating between pursuing Developmental Engineering and Piloting” Eddie said. “Now that I have had several flight lessons and realized just how much aviation interests me, I am pursuing Piloting as my primary career-choice.” Although the Air Force offers many career options such as Nursing, Logistics, Law, Medicine, and much more, ensuring critical flying positions get filled is key to organizational success. 

This scholarship opportunity also supports the National Defense Strategy in that it develops a pipeline with some of the highest quality individuals geared to help strengthen the country’s interests. The Air Force is currently looking for qualified individuals of good character to help fill a critical career field that is undermanned not just across the enterprise, but also the airline industry as well. 

Air Force ROTC is a great option for individuals who are looking to earn their wings while simultaneously serving in defense of the nation.