Civil Air Patrol’s cadet program shows how to fly gliders in Blair airport

Published: Aug. 13, 2021 at 3:29 PM CDT
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BLAIR, Neb. (WOWT) - A bird’s eye view helps fire and rescue teams fight wildfires raging out of control across the country. In many cases, the Civil Air Patrol is helping provide that information.

There’s a different type of classroom in the Blair Municipal Airport today. For 13-year-old Anya Wilson, something new today was in a confined and different learning space. This is the first time she’s been in an aircraft.

“I‘m really excited...but I’m really nervous too. I don’t know, there’s just something really scary to go in the air and stuff...really high.”

Anya is a cadet in the Nebraska Civil Air Patrol. Part of the training involves learning to fly.

What does she expect?

“Kind of like a roller coaster, honestly, only smoother and like higher and stuff I don’t know.”

Anya says a friend got her interested in the Civil Air Patrol and she loves every minute of it. The cadet training program is one part of the CAP mission.

They help with emergency services and education with an emphasis on aerospace technology.

“I’ve learned a lot about airplanes actually and they let you get to do the airplane yourself actually, so that’s pretty cool. You learn respect.”

The hope is to get the next generation of young CAP cadets interested in a possible career in flying. It’s a 16-step program for kids 10 to 20, those up to age 18 can take part in this glider program.

“Gaining experience in working with peers and managing, sending emails, writing resumes, all the stuff that is going to help out later in life. A combination of life skills and so they learn about basic aerodynamics in a glider,” said 17-year-old Ethan Wetner.

“They can take five flights over their time. Eighteen is the maximum age they can participate in that,” said Dan Peterson, Lt. Colonel, Civil Air Patrol.

Cadets like Anya get five flights learning how to pilot these gliders. They also study ground mapping and even cybersecurity.

“Until I got into here I was like, ‘oh this is pretty cool’ but yeah I think I might want to do more stuff with it.”

As for Anya’s maiden journey, a future pilot in the making.

“That was so was like the best experience you could ever have. It was not a thing like a roller coaster and coming down was not as expected, it was quite bumpy, but it was so fun. It was cool.”

Anya’s mother says she was a little apprehensive about having her daughter fly but afterward, says it was a good experience. The program is open to all kids interested in learning about the Civil Air Patrol.

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