Cadet Chief Master Sgt. Tyler Kelley at the controls of a flight simulator at the National Flight Academy.
Cadet Chief Master Sgt. Kelley graduates from the USS Ambition sea trials at the National Flight Academy
Cadet Chief Master Sgt. Tyler Kelley holds the aviator wings he earned aboard the USS Ambition.
Photos by Lt. Doug Kelley, Florida Wing
1st Lt. Susan Kelley
Emergency Services Officer
Capt. Collins H. Haines Composite Squadron
FLORIDA – When the simulated aircraft carrier USS Ambition underwent its mock sea trials recently, Cadet Chief Master Sgt. Tyler Kelley of the Capt. Collins H. Haines Composite Squadron was along for the ride.
Kelley received one of 30 scholarships awarded by the National Flight Academy to participate in the activity. At 12, he was one of the youngest members involved in the project.
The participants spent the night aboard the Ambition, which simulates the sights, sounds, smells and motion of a real carrier at sea. They also put its major electronic systems through their paces so the technical representatives on hand could work out any bugs before the “shakedown cruise” and the academy’s subsequent national opening this summer.
The Ambition was designed and built by the best and brightest from the entertainment industry, along with leaders in education, simulation and training, to address the concerns about declining STEM – science, technology, engineering and math – skills in the U.S.
Crew members spent the night in staterooms similar to those found on an actual carrier. They were lulled to sleep by the simulated sounds of jets taking off from the carrier’s deck.
During the day, the crew was divided up into three squadrons assigned to plan and execute a simulated carrier mission. The participants put their math skills to the test by plotting navigation on an interactive map table in the Joint Operations Center and calculating gross weight, flight time, fuel burn and other such factors in the Joint Information Center, then executing the mission via flight simulators.
At the same time, they were reporting any system malfunctions to the technicians standing by.
The National Flight Academy is a subsidiary of the Naval Aviation Museum and an authorized educational facility of the U.S. Navy. It operates under the auspices of retired Navy Vice Adm. Gerald L. Hoewing, who was on hand to oversee the Ambition’s first overnight class and address the first graduating class, including Kelley.
The cadet, along with his fellow participants in the sea trials, was invited back for the Ambition’s three-day shakedown cruise, the simulated version of the cruise a real carrier would undergo before its first sea cruise.
Kelley is the son of Lt. Col. Doug Kelley, the Haines squadron’s commander, and 1st Lt. Susan Kelley, emergency services officer for the unit.