The Vermont Wing of the Civil Air Patrol (CAP) took advantage of the good flying weather in central Vermont this weekend, launching several Cadets on their first glider orientation flights. Every CAP cadet under age 18 is eligible for five flights in a powered aircraft (usually one of the Wing’s Cessna 172s or 182), five flights in a glider aircraft, and an unlimited number of backseat flights when conditions allow. Orientation flights are always free to cadets. The “orientation flights,” as they are called, took place at Hartness State Airport in Springfield.
“The thrill of flying, and the related educational opportunities, along with the spirit of community service and leadership, are just several of the many things the Wing and CAP offer young Vermonters,” said Col Ann Brechbuhl, Commander of the Vermont Wing.
Once the glider was un-tethered from the tow-plane, a flight lasted about 20 minutes. While soaring, the cadets were allowed to take over the controls and receive a hands-on lesson in the science of flying.
Participating Cadets were from the Wing’s Green Mountain Composite Squadron, based at Burlington International Airport in South Burlington. In addition to the orientation flights, Cadets can participate in one week camps where cadets become student pilots. Thanks to funding and volunteer FAA Certified Flight Instructors from CAP, Cadets receive official instruction towards initial pilot training.
Col Brechbuhl noted that the Cadets received extensive training in ground handling of the glider, an introduction to the basics of flight and flight safety. Safety on the ground and in the air—as well as adherence to COVID-19 related restrictions, including social distancing, mask wearing, and stringent cleaning of the glider cockpit between flights– is paramount, she added.