Hundreds of university students in Michigan and Ohio got a chance to meet with a Marine Corps pilot and fly the F-35B Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter and the F-18 Hornet – the simulated versions that is.
From September 21-24, the Marines toured the campuses of the University of Michigan, Eastern Michigan University, Hillsdale College and Bowling Green State University, as a part of their Marine Corps Flight Orientation Program. At each location, they brought realistic simulators for students to test their flight skills.
“We travel to campuses all over the United States to generate awareness for the Marine Corps flight programs using these simulators,” said Capt. Richard Jacobs, the aviation assistant to officer procurement from 4th Marine Corps District based out of Pennsylvania.
In addition to the simulators, Jacobs also gave aviation talks to the students at the universities with the help of Capt. Nathan Harmon, Recruiting Station Detroit’s officer selection officer.
“It was a really good time,” said Christopher Stevens, a student at the Hillsdale College. “I’m proud to say I landed an F-18”.
The flight simulators have full motion technology, which gives the operator the feeling that they are actually in a real jet or helicopter. The immersion really helped the student’s get an idea of what kind of skill it takes to fly the Marine Corps jets.
According to Stevens, just sitting inside the simulator was a unique experience.
“I’m glad I took the time to get in the chair and talk to the Marines,” he said.
Marine Corps Pilots undergo the longest and most extensive training in the Marine Corps. There are three training schools a candidate must attend. The first is a six-week basic aviation course. The Marine officer will then choose which type of aircraft they will fly. This will determine the length of schooling for Primary Flight Training and Advanced Flight Training. Training may take between one to two and a half years.
For more information about becoming a pilot in the Marine Corps, go to www.MarineOfficer.com.