OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – This high school senior may be too young to rent a car, but an airplane? No problem.
Jacob Wall is one of a select few JROTC cadets to get his pilot’s license before graduation.
“He can go out to Wiley Post and rent an airplane, no problem,” said Putnam City High School Senior Aerospace Instructor Dane Christensen.
Wall, a senior, got himself ready for takeoff here at Putnam City High School’s JROTC program.
“Junior ROTC is a four-year program for any high school student that we work on science, we work on history, work on math, physical fitness,” Christensen said.
Plus, they get hands-on experience with simulators and drones.
“I saw this opportunity come up and I just couldn’t let it pass,” Wall said.
Christensen says not all schools are lucky enough to have this program.
It started several years ago when the state of Oklahoma and the U.S. Air Force saw the need for pilots and aviation-centric jobs.
“We want to make sure that the students are meeting the needs of the country at large,” said Christensen.
Wall qualified for a $20,000 scholarship from the Air Force, allowing him to attend a two-month college in Florida over the summer, where he was able to obtain his private pilot’s license.
“People usually take about six months, six to eight months to finish it, but the program has a student [do it in] two months, so it’s pretty intense, pretty fast course,” said Wall.
But he says the hard work was worth it.
“Being up in the air for the first time was definitely a freeing experience,” said Wall. “You’re kind of sick after, but it’s fun.”
There are 120 cadets in Putnam City High School’s JROTC program, and about 20 in the flight portion each year.
Wall hopes to attend the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs and one day become an officer in the Air Force.