Oklahoma Cadets Gain New Perspective
Cadet Airman Johnathon Wallace prepares to take his first flight in a Civil Air Patrol aircraft. (Source: Master Sgt. Thomas Osborne, CAP)
by 1st Lt. Tiara Sweeney, CAP
Altus, Okla (September 4, 2021) – Colonel Aaron Oliver, Civil Air Patrol’s wing commander for Oklahoma, set forth a goal of 100 cadet orientation flights completed within his first 60 days of office, making cadet airtime a priority within the wing. Just over one month later the wing topped that goal with a group of flights taking the total to 102.
On Sept. 4, with the passion for flight ignited by Colonel Oliver, Jackson County Composite Squadron, located at Altus Air Force Base, picked up the torch and continued on, getting all 10 of their cadets into planes over Labor Day weekend.
Civil Air Patrol’s Youth Aviation Initiative empowers cadets from CAP, Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps, and Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps with hands-on opportunities to explore aviation and other unique experiences.
One of Civil Air Patrol’s aircraft used for the orientation flight training. (Source: Master Sgt. Thomas Osborne, CAP)
"While in the air I was able to take control of the aircraft and fly it," said Cadet Corbin Tolle.
Civil Air Patrol’s orientation flight program offers 10 introductory flights to each cadet member—five conducted in a powered aircraft and five in gliders. During these flights, cadets have the chance to take the controls and fly the aircraft.
To make the event possible, four CAP volunteer pilots joined cadets at the airfield, including 1st Lt. Andrew Nantze.
"I love getting the opportunity to let all cadets experience aviation," Nantze said about his volunteer work as a pilot in CAP.
"I like the turning and the view," Cadet Airman Mason Neely said.
At the training each of the cadets received their first flight with CAP. For some it may not have been their first time in an airplane, but for all it was their first time to fly a plane.
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About Civil Air Patrol
Now celebrating its 80th year, Civil Air Patrol is the official auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force and as such is a member of its Total Force. In its auxiliary role, CAP operates a fleet of 560 single-engine Cessna aircraft and more than 2,000 small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (sUAS) and performs about 90% of all search and rescue operations within the contiguous United States as tasked by the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center. Often using innovative cellphone forensics and radar analysis software, CAP was credited by the AFRCC with saving 130 lives during the past fiscal year. CAP’s 60,000 members also perform homeland security, disaster relief and drug interdiction missions at the request of federal, state and local agencies. As a nonprofit organization, CAP plays a leading role in aerospace education using national academic standards-based STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education. Members also serve as mentors to 24,000 young people participating in CAP’s Cadet Programs.