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Senior accepted to American Airlines Cadet Academy

Senior accepted to American Airlines Cadet Academy
Posted on 05/15/2019
On Tuesday, more than 500 graduates from Arlington High School walked across the stage to receive a diploma. Many of them are heading to college and have a major in mind; some are going straight into the workforce. Others are still deciding what their path will be in life.

And then you have Ron Taylor. Since he was five years old, Ron has known that he wants to be an airline pilot. Like many kids, he grew up traveling with his parents for vacations and family reunions, and his trip to Minneapolis, Minnesota in 2006 is one he’ll never forget. Not because he visited the Mall of America, although he will tell you how astonishingly large the Mall of America is, but because of how he got there.

“It was my very first time to fly on a plane,” he said. “It was American Airlines. I remember being on the plane, sitting on the runway and hearing the engines. And then to just take off…I loved the feeling.”

Over the years, Ron’s interest in planes never faded. He read books and articles and spent countless hours watching YouTube videos about being a pilot. When he was 15, he went on a discovery flight with a certified flight instructor, and that only solidified his passion for the field.

This year, he took a leap. At only 18 years old, Ron filled out an application to join the American Airlines Cadet Academy. The three-step interview process required him to complete an extensive application, a video conference interview and an in-person interview in Dallas. To his surprise, he made it through each round and was finally selected to join the academy.

“I was the youngest person in my interview group in Dallas. Of course, I had to miss a day of high school,” he laughed. “But there were people graduating college, people who decided to change jobs mid-career…it was really a wide range of people applying. It was intimidating but very rewarding to just be a part of it.”

Ron was one of thousands of people across the country to apply. He’ll soon begin a 10-month training program at Crew Training International in Millington. Once complete, he’ll be paid as a flight instructor at CTI until he has enough hours under his belt to become a full-time pilot. Once a cadet is in the company, he or she is then on a track to work their way up within American Airlines.

“I just hope to be the absolute best I can be,” Taylor said. “I’ve read articles about people who have been the youngest to do this or the youngest to do that. I would love to do the most and be the youngest to do it. Really, I just want to leave a positive mark on the airline and help make it even better.”

Ron begins the cadet academy in June. Should everything goes as planned, he’ll be a pilot by the age of 21.