17-year-old cadet had never been a passenger. Now she’s a pilot

  • Sep. 6, 2018 5:11 p.m.

FRESNO, Calif. —Duncan Polytechnical School senior Angela Xiong was a pilot before she was ever a passenger.

The Air Force Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps cadet had been flying for the Civilian Air Patrol in Fresno before she got on the plane to Kansas State University to attend pilot school, made possible by a new Flight Academy scholarship.

She felt confident being behind the controls for the first time on her own —except when it came to landing.

“I know I struggled solo to land, so landing on my own for the first time was the greatest feeling,” Xiong said.

After a summer of training, plus 55-60 hours in the air, the 17-year-old earned her private pilot license. She’s now able to fly private aircraft and she said she’d like to use her new skills to one day fly for a medic, aiding in rescue operations or emergency situations.

“Flying by myself and actually doing radio calls by myself and everything, I felt like I accomplished what I was supposed to do,” Xiong said.

She said she encourages other students to apply to the program: “I wasn’t sure if I wanted to be a pilot, but I just tried, and I got it, and now I highly recommend it.”

Xiong was one of 120 cadets selected for the Flight Academy scholarship, a program established this year to address a nationwide shortage of both civilian and military pilots. The Air Force estimates that it is 1,500 pilots short of fulfilling its requirements, with many leaving due to quality of life issues and the possibility of better pay at commercial jobs, according to spokeswoman Major Malinda Singleton.

The JROTC scholarship is intended to “help fill those voids down the road,” according to a news release from the Air Force.

Singleton said a private pilot license, and all the training that comes before it, is often a prerequisite to a either a civilian or military pilot career.

“Becoming a pilot is expensive. But if you talk to our cadets, 90 percent of them would love to become pilots,” Singleton said. “With this scholarship, a lot of that training is paid for.”

Just Posted

Red Deer city council aims to force larger non-profits to become more accountable

New bylaw defines which not-for-profits must pay for a business licence

Red Deer city council will seek public input on portable signage March 4

Council gave initial approval to retaining 100-metre separation distance

Smaller, more affordable, lots wanted in Red Deer’s Evergreen neighbourhood

Council approves first reading of requested lot-size changes

RDC’s new name to be unveiled in February

The next big milestone for Red Deer College is a new name,… Continue reading

Lacombe considering licensing cats

Council is expected to take a look at cat potential licensing regulations next month

2-for-1: Total lunar eclipse comes with supermoon bonus

On Sunday night, the moon, Earth and sun lined up to create the eclipse, which was visible throughout North and South America

Opinion: Faith in immigration must be preserved

Canada has a deserved reputation for extending its arms to newcomers, but… Continue reading

Olympian Adam van Koeverden wins federal Liberal nomination in Ontario riding

MILTON, Ont. — Former Olympic flag-bearer Adam van Koeverden will be carrying… Continue reading

World champion Osmond says it’s “really nice” not to know what future holds

SAINT JOHN, N.B. — Kaetlyn Osmond has a world title, Olympic medals… Continue reading

World economy forecast to slow in 2019 amid trade tensions

For Canada, the IMF’s estimate for growth in 2019 was 1.9 per cent, down from expected global growth of 3.5 per cent

Timberlake pops in on patients at Texas children’s hospital

DALLAS — Justin Timberlake has pulled some sunshine from his pocket for… Continue reading

UK police speak to Prince Philip about not wearing seatbelt

LONDON — British police have spoken with Prince Philip after the husband… Continue reading

‘Gotti’ leads Razzie nominations, Trump up for worst actor

The nominations were announced on Monday, Jan. 21 with some movies earning up to six nominations

Curtain rising Sunday night on total lunar eclipse

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — The celestial curtain will be rising soon on… Continue reading

Most Read