The flights took place on Aug. 6 and 10 at Tri-Cities Airport with the cadets flying a combined 12 hours in Cessna 182s.
“It was awesome,” said Cadet Airman First Class Jacob Melvin. “I’ve always wanted to fly and today, for the first time, I got to handle the controls and see what flying is all about.”
The hourlong flights in a single-engine aircraft introduced the cadets to the science that makes flight possible. They learned about navigation, weather, aircraft instruments, flight maneuvers and more.
The cadets’ day began by helping pre-flight the aircraft. Working with their pilot, they taxied their aircraft to Tri-Cities’ runway 5/23, gave it full throttle and took off, climbing to approximately 3,000 feet. It was the cadets who were handling the controls during the non-critical stages of the flight.
“You really have to pay attention when you’re at the controls,” explained Cadet Airman First Class Mae Tilton. “But once you get past your nervousness, it’s fantastic.”
Once they reached the assigned altitude, the cadets turned and headed for the Greeneville airport, where they made a brief stop. Then it was another cadet’s turn at the controls for the flight home. CAP pilots repeated this round-trip flight throughout the day.
“I’ve been flying cadets for years and it’s always exciting just to see the look on their faces,” said CAP pilot Gary Brandt of the Crossville, Tennessee, Squadron.
The pilots volunteered their time while the Civil Air Patrol provided the aircraft and fuel, at no cost to the cadets or pilots.
Cadets participating were William Cox, Donovan Furman, Mason Furman, Timothy Hamilton, Jacob Melvin, Benjamin Messimer, Daniel Morton, Esther Morton, Andrew Tilton, Mae Tilton, Elijah Webb and Abigail Woddy. The pilots were Gary Brandt and Locke Kelly.
CAP’s cadet program is open to youth ages 12 through 18. Additionally, there are volunteer opportunities for adults, pilots and non-pilots alike. For more information, contact 1st Lt. Scott Foster at (423) 741-9934 or visit GoCivilAirPatrol.com.