CORVALLIS - Two Oregon State University students plan to spend some of their summer floating on air in the shadow of Colorado's Rocky Mountains.
William Bal, an OSU political science major from Winnemucca, Nev., and Jerrett Archer, a mechanical engineering major from Salem, have earned spots in the U.S. Air Force Academy's "shadow program" in Colorado Springs.
The freshmen will spend two weeks in Colorado; Archer at the controls of an Air Force glider, and Bal learning to do free fall parachute moves.
Both men are members of OSU's Reserve Officers' Training Corps and survived a national competitive application process to earn their spots.
While they acknowledge the program involves more than a little hard work, they say they are looking forward to the advanced training opportunity.
"After four days of ground school, I have the chance to do up to three jumps a day with 10- second free falls from 4,500 feet," said Bal, a 1995 graduate of Winnemucca's Lowry High School.
"I'm excited about it," added Archer, a 1995 graduate of North Salem High School. "I've done a little flying in a Cessna in the Civil Air Patrol program, but here I'll be in Colorado learning how to land and maneuver a glider."
Following training, Bal expects to earn an Air Force parachutist rating, which could put him in the running for an Air Force pilot slot or missions in special operations or intelligence.
Archer is focused on flying.
"I'd like to get flight training and become a pilot."
Click photos to see a full-size version. Right click and save image to download.