The National Flight Academy in Pensacola, Florida will soon offer 80 tuition scholarships cumulatively worth $100,000 to children of active duty or retired military service members. Designed to address serious concerns about declining STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) standards in the United States, the Academy’s mission is to inspire students to seek more STEM opportunities when they return home for their regular school year.

Attendees, or Ambition Experimental Pilots (AXPs), who participate in the six-day overnight Deployments program will live aboard Ambition, a state-of-the-art, 102,000-square-foot virtual aircraft carrier. Students who embark on this aviation-based adventure learn STEM skills in addition to critical thinking, problem–solving, leadership development and effective communication.

Students plan missions with ultramodern and advanced technology and also learn to fly in networked aircraft, eat on mess decks, sleep in staterooms and receive mission briefings. They also explore different rooms in the virtual carrier such as the mess deck, join intelligence center, joint operations center, berthing spaces and hangar bay.

Students in the Deployments program live and work aboard Ambition, a virtual aircraft carrier.

“Delta is a great example of a company investing in an innovative program that will positively affect the future of young people,” says retired Marine Lt. Gen. Duane Thiessen, president of the National Flight Academy. “Together, we are able to have a positive impact on a large group of students.”

Students between ages 11-17, grades 7-12 and with active duty or retired military parents are eligible to apply for scholarships seats. Applicants can participate in a video contest or submit a 500-word essay that answers one of the following prompts:

  1. How would you use science, technology, engineering and math to be a positive influence on the world? Please include why you would want to attend the National Flight Academy.
  2. How do you think the aviation industry will use science, technology, engineering and math concepts to make significant advances to aviation over the next 50 years? Please include why you would want to attend the National Flight Academy.

The scholarships, in addition to carrying a $1,250 value, provide complimentary shuttle service from Pensacola International Airport. Note to applicants that air travel is not included in this opportunity.

The video and essay contest submission deadline is Friday, March 15, 2019 at 11:59 p.m. CST. Any videos or essays submitted after this deadline will not be considered. Parents must submit their child’s video or essay through this portal:

Selected students will be notified by the NFA no later than March 30, 2019 at 5:00 p.m. CST via the parent’s email address provided during the submission process. Selected students must be available to attend one of the following weeks: June 16 – 21, June 30 – July 5 or July 14 -19. For full video and essay contest information, visit