By Jug Varner

The National Museum of Naval Aviation Foundation at Pensacola, FL, has raised $30 million of its $36 million goal for its planned National Flight Academy - a long-range program to attract youth of America and stimulate their interest in math and sciences through the proposed flight academy's classes.

Using flight simulators and other devices, the National Flight Academy will teach aerodynamics, communications, navigation, and the sensation of flight to 7th through 12th-grade students interested in participating.

In addition to a recent $2 million donation from the Boeing Company, contract manufactures of the Navy's FA-18 Hornet jet fighter and many other weapons, contributions large and small have come from a variety of companies and individual supporters, many of whom served in the Navy and Marine Corps. Two of the larger gifts have been $10 million from an anonymous donor (a former active duty Marine), and $12 million from Jack Taylor, founder of the St. Louis based Enterprise Car Rental System - who named it after the aircraft carrier Taylor flew from as a WWI Navy pilot.

Retired Vice Adm. Jack Fetterman, foundation president and chief executive, officer stated, “Within a year we should have the money on the table to start construction.”

Officials have set 2006 as the estimated start date for the first academy class.

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