New Air Force ROTC flight simulator has high-flying ambitions

Two UM ROTC programs are making news with exciting new opportunities for UM students. The Army ROTC, new to campus, is offering scholarships and training through its $2 million scholarship budget, while the Air Force ROTC, with its innovative flight simulator program, is offering free flying lessons to all students.
UM students interested in the Army Reserved Officer Training Core [ROTC] don’t have to commute to Florida International University anymore because UM has created its own rigorous program that prides itself on high standards and molding leaders.
Now that the program has made it to campus, it’s starting out strong – especially with its $2 million scholarship budget.
The Army ROTC program offers two to three credit classes focusing on valuable leadership skills. Interested students must be willing to endure an athletic challenge and demonstrate leadership capabilities. A good GPA is also required.
In addition to being given extended experience in management and leadership roles and skills, students are also given incredible scholarship opportunities through Army ROTC.
With the large scholarship budget that has been given to the new program, the Army ROTC will award two, three, or four year undergraduate or graduate scholarships to deserving students in all academic majors. As with all Army ROTC endeavors, the scholarships are geared towards well-rounded students who exhibit the willingness to take on a challenge.
Major Albert Harris feels the Army ROTC is heading in the right direction.
“Basically, we hope to continue the expansion of the Army cadet core, the unparalleled leadership training, and the distribution of scholarships to those that meet the necessary requirements.”
Air Force ROTC
“The only thing better than the flight simulator is actually flying; that is how realistic it is,” Brandon Ferguson, Air Force ROTC Cadet, said. “It’s as close to a real plane as possible.”
Last year, UM gave the Air Force ROTC was given a $75,000 grant to start the Detachment 155 Flight Simulator Program. Touted as a fun, safe way to practice flying, the simulator is used for flight training. An added bonus to the program is that it’s open – at no cost – to the public. No flight experience is necessary, and everyone is free to take as many lessons as they wish.
There are two simulators – the General Aviation Flight Training [GAFT], used for the introductory course in the flight simulator program, while the Jet Aviation Flight Training [JAFT] is for the more experienced pilots in training. GAFT is modeled after the Cessna 172 airplane, complete with 42′ plasma HDTV screen to display realistic flight terrain graphics and an exact replica of the Cessna 172 cockpit.
JAFT is modeled after the F-16 Fighting Falcon – considered the premier fighter aircraft – and features a fully integrated, hands-on throttle and stick control based on an actual F-16 control layout. A force feedback seat gives the pilot the sensation of actually flying.
According to Cadet Steven Schappert, Public Affairs officer, most flight companies use this program as a training tool; he would feel confident flying an airplane after taking this complete course.
“It is definitely a cool opportunity that is hard to find anywhere else,” Schappert said. “Hopefully more students who are interested in aviation will take advantage of it.” I

>> For more information about the Army ROTC, contact Major Albert Harris at 305-284-3329,, or visit the McArthur Building Rm. 225.
>> For more information on the Detachment 155 Flight Simulator Program, e-mail

Camille Cohen and Caralyn Pearson contributed to this article.