Ready to Soar

by Kenny Clay

My name is Kenny Clay. I am pursuing a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering at UAB. I grew up in Trussville, Alabama and graduated from Hewitt-Trussville High School in June 2017. After graduating from high school, I decided to enlist in the Air National Guard. I knew enlisting would help me obtain the work ethic and military experience I need to one day become a military pilot. My ANG job field is in avionics. The avionics job helped me get a start in learning about and working with equipment dealing with electrical engineering principles. The job also gave me on the job technical experience that a classroom setting can not duplicate. My enlistment opened many opportunities: College tuition assistance, the ability to climb through the ranks to become a guard pilot, and most of all the Red Tail Scholarship.

I got hooked on flying the day one of my dad’s friends, who was building hours for his commercial pilot certificate, decided to take my dad and me flying in a Cessna 182. He departed from the airport and cleared the controlled airspace. Once we leveled off, he let me take the controls and fly around. After we landed, I knew I wanted to start taking lessons. I started flying lessons the summer of 2014. Through a lot of hard work and the struggle to fund my newly found passion, I finally obtained my Private Pilot’s License in the spring of 2017. Then, I left for basic training June 2017. Once I returned from the basic training and tech school, I started my IFR flight training. The Red Tail Scholarship Foundation decided to help me along my journey to earn an IFR rating, and more importantly, mentor, and guide me to my long-term goal of becoming a commercial pilot. I could not be more grateful for the flying opportunities the Red Tail Scholarship foundation has opened up for others and for me.