U.S. Air Force Academy cadet Nick Ryan Duran, 20, was piloting a single-engine aircraft when it went down near the Cleburne Regional Airport in Texas on June 24, 2021. Tragically, Nick was killed in the plane crash.
At USAFA, Nick was a proud member of Cadet Squadron 29, the Black Panthers. He completed the Soaring Program and flew solo in a glider. Nick was in charge of the Aviation Club and focused on providing access to cadets interested in pursuing aviation. Prior to his passing, he worked at Basic Military Training (BMT) Lead in San Antonio, Texas, where he led a flight of US Air Force airmen during their basic training. Nick's ultimate goal was to become an Air Force fighter pilot.
To honor Nick's involvement with the USAFA Cadet Aviation Club, and to champion his passion for providing access to cadets in pursuing aviation and flight hours in a single engine plane, the Nick Duran Memorial Fund for Aviation Exploration has been established. This fund will allow cadets within the Aviation Club to take part in discovery flights and follow in the footsteps of their fellow Zoomie.
Below are quotes from cadets who have experienced such discovery flights:
“The best part was being encouraged by my instructor that I had the potential to become a great pilot. Thank you for allowing me to have another glimpse of aviation to deepen my interest in flying. Thank you for giving me another opportunity to realize I do have potential to become an aviator even though I sometimes have doubts and lack confidence in becoming one.”
- C3C Daniel Jeong
“I have never been in the front seat of an aircraft, and it was thrilling. It was the most exciting thing I've done at USAFA thus far. Thank you for the opportunity! It will be a highlight of my USAFA career.”
- C3C Adriana Funes Aguila
Your gift is In memory of the late Nick Duran and in honor of his work to bring Discovery Flights to Air Force Academy cadets. Thank you.