Local Students Take Part in Cadet Program

A local group of teenagers took to the skies Sunday and flew an airplane. They were taking part in a Cadet Program with the Civil Air Patrol.

The flight lesson begins with a safety check to make sure the plane is ready to go. It ends with cadets between the ages of 12 and 18 years of age actually taking control and flying a plane.

"It's like being in school and getting all the knowledge, but when you actually get to put that knowledge to work. It's quite an experience," said cadet Roger George III.

"You really don't know whether you have an aptitude to fly until you've been up in an airplane. It can really turn you on to aviation or it can turn you off, but they find out," said instructor, Lt. Colonel John Wilkes.

The flying lessons teach all about aviation. The students learn how a plane flies and the challenges that pilots go through. Cadets say working together in small groups also helps them a lot more.

"I'm learning a lot, mainly about teamwork because I like to work a lot with the people in my squadron," said Crystal Mullen. The cadets say the most exciting and intimidating part of this training is getting a bird's eye view. They fly about 2,500 feet in the air. It is an experience they will never forget.

"I think it's awesome because I love it. It's the best experience I could ever get," said Mullen.

"It's actually kind of scary at first because you're actually controlling the plane. You can feel the controls, but since the pilot's right there, he's telling you to take your time," says George.

Most cadets say these flight lessons are just the beginning, and they could see themselves taking flight in a career in the skies.

By Myya Durden-Robinson