West High student selected for Air Force JROTC Flight Academy

Kyle Ross, a junior, has been selected as one of 230 Air Force JROTC students to attend the 2021 Air Force JROTC Flight Academy.

A West High School student who dreams of being a pilot could soon find that a reality.

Kyle Ross, a junior, has been selected as one of 230 Air Force JROTC students to attend the 2021 Air Force JROTC Flight Academy.

Ross said he was shocked when he heard the news.

“Honestly, I thought this couldn’t be real,” he said. “There’s over 100,000 cadets in the world and I was one of 230.”

The scholarship for the school is valued at $22,500. According to a press release, more than 1,340 students applied for the flight academy.

Senior Master Sgt. Joshua King, one of his instructors at the joint East-West High School Air Force JROTC program, said Ross is one of the leaders in the unit. He currently holds the job as operations officer for the squadron.

“We’re absolutely proud of him,” King said. “He’s deserving of it.”

Ross applied for the academy in September. The academy allows for students to earn their private pilot’s license during an eight-week course over the summer.

The cadets first start in ground school and over the course of the eight weeks go to flight school. By the end, they will have a chance to conduct a solo flight.

Ross said he has dreams of being a pilot whether it is in the military or commercial aircraft. He grew up in Indiana and has lived in Tennessee the past three years, he said. During that time, he has been heavily involved in the JROTC program.

Those who applied were assessed on five graded areas. Those included a physical fitness test, life experiences, aviation experiences, recommendations and an aviation qualification test.

The program has partner universities where the academy takes place. Ross has not been told yet which university he may attend over the summer. There is also no requirement for enlisting in the Air Force if a cadet attends the academy. Ross said he does plan to attend college after his senior year.

He has in mind several different colleges to apply for and hopefully receive an ROTC scholarship. He also plans on applying for the Air Force Academy.

“I’m looking at a couple of different options,” he said.