|U.S. Marine Corps offers free flights to aviators|
|Written by Katherine Kussmann, Daily Vidette News Editor|
|Sunday, 13 March 2011 18:36|
Up, up and away! The Marine Corps is offering interested students the chance to fly in a Beechcraft King Air with a Marine Corps pilot today, Monday, March 14 to Wednesday, March 16.
The free flights, taking place at Central Illinois Regional Airport, give students the chance to learn about military aviation as well as the chance to talk with officers about officer programs.
“The focus is to find people who are interested in careers in the Marine Corps and aviation is one of those careers among multiple others,” Capt. August Christhilf, Marine Officer Selection Officer, said.
Offered twice a year in the spring and the fall, the flights can take between 15 to 20 minutes. About four students are allowed in the plane at a time and each student gets a turn to sit in the co-pilot seat to see the inner workings of the plane, Christhilf said.
“They are going to do some alternative take-off and landing maneuvers that are more tactical so they take off a little faster and a little different fashion that if you are flying up to Chicago on a civilian flight. While in the air, they are going to do some basic maneuvers that create G-Force, and you get to feel what that is like,” he said.
Aside from the flight, students will also have the opportunity to talk with officers about officer programs, which has different tracks, depending on the student’s year in school.
“It has two tracks which lead to Officer Candidate School. For anyone who is either an undergraduate or a graduate within a certain age limit, this is a way to earn a commission as a second lieutenant in the Marine Corps. The first track is called the Platoon Leaders Course. Platoon Leaders Course if for freshman, sophomores and juniors and the second course is called Officer Candidate Course and that is for seniors and those who have already graduated and have a degree,” Christhilf said.
“Bottom line, the very minimum requirement to come into the Marine Corps as an officer is a bachelor’s degree,” he added.
The free flights also give students the opportunity to set up an appointment for a later date to discuss the option in more detail.
“For someone that doesn’t know a lot about the Marine Corps, it is an exciting way and a unique opportunity to open that world to someone. It helps us to get to know someone because I don’t go on every flight but it is a starting point in a relationship to build with each student or each person should then end up being an applicant in our program,” he said.
For more information on the officer programs or the free flights, contact Christhilf at (800) 258-7207.