Airman looks to Rated Prep Program for lifelong dream to fly
By Airman 1st Class Shannon Moorehead, 375th Air Mobility wing
/ Published February 25, 2021
Scott Air Force Base, Ill. – For one Senior Airman here, the dream of becoming a pilot just got a little more real thanks to a little-known Air Force program that helps enlisted members cross over and up to the skies.
For Senior Airman David Ramones, 54th Airlift Squadron executive flight attendant, the selection to the Air Force’s Rated Preparatory Program—one of 18 from Scott—is fulfilling a childhood dream.
“Ever since I was a child, I've always looked up to the sky, and growing up in the Philippines, I didn't think that I'd be able to be able to get there. It feels surreal, and I’m one step closer … to becoming a pilot in the Air Force.”
Formerly known as the Pilot Preparatory Program, the RPP provides Air Force officers and enlisted applicants the opportunity to cross-train to a rated career field. It also allows individuals to gain and strengthen basic aviation skills through developmental modules and flight time in order to increase their competitiveness as candidates for future undergraduate flying training boards.
As a young adult, Ramones didn't foresee his parents having the money to put him into pilot school so instead he pursued other goals. Along his journey, he saw an opportunity that presented itself in the Air Force. To qualify, he had to make it through highly competitive entry requirements. Some of the requirements for enlisted participants include: being eligible to apply to at least one of the three Air Force commissioning sources, meeting undergraduate flying training board requirements and having less than five hours of civilian flight time.
“One of the reasons why I continued to pursue this dream is because of my fiancé, Kiarra, my family and friends for their love and encouragement in pursuing this dream. Furthermore, I also owe it to my unit and how they've been supportive,” he said. “They were pushing me, encouraging me, and always told me that if this doesn’t work out, there's always a next time. We're like an ‘Ohana’ (family in Hawaiian), and that's what I love about my unit.”
In March Ramones will complete the RPP course virtually while he’s still here at Scott followed by temporary duty yonder in Denton Texas to complete the flying course and in May will apply for Officer Training School in the hopes of obtaining a pilot slot.
“I’m overjoyed and relieved to know that the hard work that my team and I put into the application has paid off,” he said. “Now, I just feel excited and can’t wait to start flying!”
For more information on the RPP and application requirements please click HERE.