Everyone loves to earn a few “perks.” That includes young people, who love to get a bonus for their hard work and commitment. Six Boone County young people, members of the Boone Composite Squadron Civil Air Patrol, enjoyed a special bonus on Monday, 18 February, in addition to being out of school for Presidents’ Day. They enjoyed one of the most favored perks of being a Civil Air Patrol cadet - getting to fly an airplane! Not just fly “in” an airplane, but actually fly the aircraft. CAP cadets have the opportunity to actually fly a Cessna 172 up to 5 times before they turn age 18. They also may ride in the backseat while another cadet flies and there is no limit to the number of backseat flights they may take.
Local CAP Cadets Larry Copen, Cameron Jarrett, Trinity Miller, Matthew Smith, Shyanne Trent and Dalton Wilson each flew a Cessna 172 between the Logan County Airport and the Mercer County Airport while under the control and watchful instruction of specially trained Civil Air Patrol Cadet Orientation Pilots. Commenting on his first flight, Cadet Jarrett said, “I felt a lot of turbulence…I felt the tail swaying back and forth…” Jarrett’s confidence was secure, however as he flew the aircraft, because “the pilot was up there and he would have helped me if I needed it.”
Upon completing their flights, all six cadets said they were ready to fly again. This was the first flight for Jarrett and Trent, while the remaining four cadets were enjoying their second flight.
In addition to learning how to actually fly the airplane, the cadets receive instruction on how to do a pre-flight inspection, how to check fuel levels and refuel the aircraft, how to read the instruments and gauges, the effects of wind currents on aircraft, how to bank and turn an aircraft and much more. The tasks of take-off and landing are left to the Orientation Pilots, but each cadet gets almost an hour of actual flying time on each flight.
Civil Air Patrol, the official auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force, is a nonprofit organization with more than 61,000 members nationwide, operating a fleet of 550 aircraft. CAP, in its Air Force auxiliary role, performs 90 percent of continental U.S. inland search and rescue missions as tasked by the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center and was credited by the AFRCC with saving 54 lives in fiscal year 2011. Its volunteers also perform homeland security, disaster relief and drug interdiction missions at the request of federal, state and local agencies. The members play a leading role in aerospace education and serve as mentors to nearly 27,000 young people currently participating in the CAP cadet program. CAP received the World Peace Prize in 2011 and has been performing missions for America for 70 years. CAP also participates in Wreaths Across America, an initiative to remember, honor and teach about the sacrifices of U.S. military veterans.
For local squadron information, visit the webpage at http://wvboonecap.webs.com/ or call 304-369-5051 to leave a message at the local CAP office. Inquiries may also be called to the local Commander, Lt Col Virgil Martin at 304-860-1747. Information from the National Headquarters is available at www.gocivilairpatrol.com or www.capvolunteernow.com