Craven Community College (Craven CC) recently celebrated the accomplishments of 12 new pilots during a graduation ceremony at Coastal Carolina Regional Airport on Aug. 7. The graduates were participants in the Air Force Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC) Summer 2022 program, a joint effort between Craven CC, D2 Flight Academy, and the Air Force JROTC program.

“Since June 13, we have been directly supporting the JROTC summer flight academy program, sponsored by the U.S. Air Force, at the D2 Flight Academy in New Bern,” said Bill Franchi, director of Craven CC’s Aviation Management & Career Pilot program. “This is a highly competitive program drawing mostly high school students from all over the country.”

Candidates are subjected to a rigorous selection process before being selected for the program. The goal is for students to earn a Private Pilot License within an eight-week period, resulting in an intense training regimen and requiring complete dedication from students. Instructors for the college’s aviation programs provided ground training in classrooms at the Institute of Aeronautical Technology on the Havelock campus. Students also had access to the college’s state-of-the-art Advanced Aviation Training Device that can simulate 35 different aircraft and virtual access to 500 global airports.

The condensed program led students through their first flight all the way to being a certified pilot with 40 hours of flight time in addition to many hours of classroom instruction.

“It is very important to get young people engaged in flight programs early so that they can see just how exhilarating flying can be,” said Franchi. “With the tremendous pilot shortage expected over the next five years it is equally important for them to start building their flight hours now so that they may be in a position to be able to apply for pilot jobs when they graduate.”

Franchi added that several of the graduates expressed a desire to enter the military after college, so the JROTC program provided them with valuable insight into what they can expect from a military career. For more information on Craven CC’s aviation programs, visit

    Fifteen students in flight school camp pose outside by small airplane


    Twelve students in flight school camp pose in the hangar wearing flight suits


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