Civil Air Patrol Cadets Earn Their Wings in Augusta
While most high school students are enjoying summer break, these teenagers are back in the classroom. The lesson? Learning how to fly. “This is very much how training would go on in a commercial environment, you’re here for a week, get all your ground work and studying some of them take years before they get here,” says flight instructor Ed Marks. Thousands of Civil Air Patrol cadets from across the country apply for the prestigious CAP Flight Academy. There are five different wings, including one here in Maine. Eighteen aspiring pilots were selected to participate in Augusta’s program. “They are “A” type personalities, driven, number one, they really come prepared,” Marks said. The cadets will log 30 hours in the classroom, 10 in the air. Once they graduate, they’ll be ready to get their private pilot license. Michael Chung’s dreams of becoming a pilot began when he was five years old. At the end of this ten day course, he’ll have the knowledge to spread his wings as he takes to the skies but this time, he’ll be the one in the pilot’s seat. “To be in the pilot seat and be in control and you’re the one flying the airplane, it’s amazing,” he said. One lesson the students say they’ll take away outweighs any time spent in the classroom. It’s the friendships they’ve made from the experience. “By day two, we were all friends as if we had been friends for a couple months already it was that bond of being in CAP and loving aviation that brought us all together,” said Amon Fitzpatrick-Reth from New Jersey. It’s that love of aviation that will propel them to turn their dreams into a reality.