Purdue's partnership with the Air Force allows cadets to earn their wings

One lucky high schooler earned his wings and is flying high to follow his dreams after receiving his private pilot certificate

Posted: Aug 2, 2018 6:43 AM

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) — One lucky high schooler earned his wings and is flying high to follow his dreams after receiving his private pilot certificate

Last May, Purdue was one of six schools around the country to be chosen to partner with the Air Force for the cadet training initiative program.

The program has reached its final approach as all twenty cadets who received the scholarship passed and can now sit in the cock pit.

“If there’s one thing in the world that you have to work your tail off for, it has to be this,” said Christopher Huber.

Huber worked his tail off to accept his wings patch and will have no problem landing in any college.

The high school senior can remember the day he had to fasten his seatbelt as his Junior Air Force ROTC instructors gave him the news.

"I go back there and they asked how comfortable do you feel right now and I said I feel pretty good,” said the Marcus High School senior. “They said okay we are just double checking that you’re not doing anything this summer. I said not that I know of and then they said you’re booked. You just got the scholarship and I was flipping out"

In the span of four days, Huber wrapped up his junior year, took a flight from Dallas to Lafayette and the training started. There were no delays.

The partnership could not have been completed without the help of Professor Brian Dillman. He says that both commercial and military pilots are in a shortage, so this was the perfect opportunity for students to get on board.

"They have that strong foundation that Purdue provides and it's going to give them that springboard to be able to move into whatever career path they have as far as aviation is concerned," said Dillman.

"That's why I was so interested in this,” said Huber. “I was like hey you know what, that's of course my end goal. That’s where I hope to end up one day is commercially, so if there is any sort of head start I can get now that can give me a leading edge later on, I'm all for it"

The program was fully funded by the Air Force and the classes taught are the same as what Purdue freshman take.

"A lot of guys here want to go to the Air Force Academy, but I kind of found being out here at Purdue taught me that I do enjoy the college life," said the Texas native.

Huber said he couldn't be more thankful to have his parents' support.

"They really prepared me well and I couldn’t thank ya'll enough just because of the love and support,” said Huber. “They believe in nurture over nature and I've developed into the man I want to be. I'm really happy to be their son."

Huber said the scariest part of the program was the first solo flight.

In all, he graduated in just 5 weeks.

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