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Friday, June 14, 2024

Ocala high school student is 1 of 28 in nation at Navy Summer Flight Academy

Ocala high school student selected for Navy Flight Academy
Ocala high school student Joseph Lavdas was selected for Navy Flight Academy. (Photo: U.S. Navy)

An Ocala high school student was one of just 28 individuals selected to participate in the U.S. Navy Summer Flight Academy, where he will receive dozens of hours of aviation training and will be required to complete 17 hours of solo flights.

Joseph Lavdas, a student at Vanguard High School, is currently participating in the aviation program at Elizabeth City State University in Elizabeth City, North Carolina. The program began on June 1 and continues through July 31.

Lavdas was one of 28 high-performing 11th and 12th graders who were selected for the program.

Established in 2021, the Department of the Navy sponsors the Summer Flight Academy program for students participating in Navy and Marine Corps Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps. The program was created to increase exposure to Naval aviation.

Although the cost of the program is approximately $28,000 per student, it is offered at zero cost to each student through partnerships with local universities, according to a statement from the Navy.

Upon completion of the program, each student earns a private pilot certification/license and five college credits.

“Joseph Lavdas has demonstrated incredible potential, and the Navy is honored to play a part in his personal and professional journey,” said Tamara Graham, Deputy Director, CNAF Flight Academy Program Manager. Graham says the scholarship program is designed to “inspire and expose exceptional young talent from communities across the nation to a career path in Naval Aviation.”

During the eight-week academy, Lavdas will receive a minimum of 32 hours of classroom aviation academics and more than 40 hours of flight training in either a Vulcanair V.10 single-engine aircraft or Piper Warrior (PA-28). As part of the certification process, he will be required to complete 17 hours of solo flights.