ST. LOUIS ( -- For a lot of kids in north St. Louis County, Lambert Airport is in their backyard and the thought of a career in aviation isn't a reality. Learning to fly takes time and money. Now, a new program is showing kids the sky isn't the limit - it's only the start.

With their jackets and aviators on, six high school students are ready to embark on something new. The Red Tail Cadet program is all about opportunity. "These are kids who ordinarily may not get this chance," program founder Anthony Meyer said. He said it's something he came up with while on small plane during a mission trip in Africa.

Red Tail Cadet Program

"There were two pilots and they looked like they were 12 years old," Meyer said. That young pilot told Meyer that his small community put him through flight school. "If he can learn how to fly a plane in Africa, kids in Ferguson can learn how to fly."

With that idea in mind , Meyer approached the Ferguson Florissant School District. "So often our students don’t get access to some of these programs, they don’t even know what some of these careers are," Superintendent Joe Davis said. 

Now the Red Tail Cadet program is a reality. A seven-week program will run over the summer. Six cadets will go through flight training, learn mechanics, take business classes and even get to travel around the country to air shows.

The Crossing Church in Chesterfield - where Meyer is a pastor - has partnered with aviation companies in the area to make the program kick off. Learning to fly can cost thousands of dollars but by helping lift these kids up, "they now get to think and imagine their futures, perhaps in a way they couldn’t have before, or maybe nobody told them it’s ok to dream that big," pastor Greg Holder said. "I want them to dream as big as they possibly can.

The cadets get a rigorous interview process and all excel in math and science. A graduation ceremony for them will happen in august. Click here to learn more about the program. 

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