native of Boone Co. takes flight with honors | New

BOONE COUNTY – Captain Zachary Cox of Hewett graduated with honors from specialized undergraduate pilot training on May 7 at Columbus Air Force Base in Mississippi.

The 18 new Airmen in Class 21-09, from the 14th Student Squadron, completed a 52-week pilot training program that began with a 6-week pre-flight phase of instruction and physiological training for prepare students for flight.

The second phase, primary training, took place on the T-6A Texan II single-engine turboprop. Students learned about aircraft flight characteristics, emergency procedures, takeoff and landing procedures, aerobatics and formation flight.

The students also practiced night, instrument and cross-country flight. Primary training lasts approximately 23 weeks and includes 254.4 hours of ground training, 27.3 hours on the flight simulator and 89 hours on the T-6A aircraft.

After primary training, Captain Cox chose advanced training on the air tanker runway. This training used the T-1A Jayhawk, the military version of a Beech Jet 400 multi-seat business jet. The instruction focused on crew coordination and management, instrument training, field flying and simulated refueling and drop missions. The training lasts approximately 26 weeks and included 185 hours of ground training, 53.6 hours in the flight simulator and 76.4 hours in the T-1A.

Cox will continue his training at Little Rock Air Force Base before returning to serve with the 130th Airlift Wing in Charleston, West Virginia, where he will fly the C130J Super Hercules.

Cox is married to former Chelsea Bradshaw and is the son of Robert (Pete) and Donna Cox, and grandson of Katie and the late Elmer Ball and the late Rupert and Edell Cox.

Cox graduated from Scott High School in 2009 and received his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering, a minor in nanotechnology, and a master’s degree in petroleum and natural gas engineering from West Virginia University. He was employed as a factory engineer for Williams Energy, in Moundsville, West Virginia, before being accepted into the flight program.

Cox’s hometown of Hewett was recognized at a black tie dinner after graduation when he received an award as a pilot from the smaller hometown.

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