How would you like to fly in an airplane? Or better yet, how would you like to get some practical hands on experience while flying, and even get to take over the controls? While flying a Civil Air Patrol Cadet Orientation Flight, cadets get to do just that. The primary goal of Civil Air Patrol’s Cadet Orientation Flight Program is to introduce youth to aviation through hands-on orientation flights in single engine aircraft and gliders. Every Civil Air Patrol cadet under age 18 is eligible for five flights in a powered aircraft (usually a single-engine Cessna), five flights in a glider aircraft, and an unlimited number of backseat flights when conditions allow. In addition, all orientation flights are at no cost to cadets.
The Sugar Valley Composite Squadron, located at Sugar Valley Airport in Farmington, offers cadets the opportunity to fly in an aircraft every month. Recently, Capt Sandra Smith flew six cadets for orientation flights in a single-engine Cessna. "Though there are hours of preparation to make an orientation flight possible, it is a real thrill for me as a pilot to bring the joy and wonder of flight to our cadets!" Five of the cadets who flew with Capt. Smith were new recruits to the squadron. For four of these cadets, it was their first time in a small airplane. One cadet commented: "You see the world totally different in the air as opposed to in a car!"
During their orientation flights, the cadets received one hour of flying time, plus time in the back seat, with a detailed syllabus of tasks for each cadet’s level of experience. Cadets also participated in the preflight of the aircraft. In addition, cadets that were waiting for their turn to fly were given the opportunity to fly a simulator.
The Sugar Valley Composite Squadron meets weekly at 249 Gilbert Rd, Mocksville, NC 27028 on Tuesdays from 6:30 PM to 8:30 PM.
This article, by C/1st Lt. Christopher Herman, first appeared in Davie Co Enterprise on 3/30/2017.