Young Cadets Attend Flight Academy In Old Town

Morgan Sturdivant

Updated 1 year ago

Thousands of volunteer members from around the country make up the Civil Air Patrol.Each year they invite “the best of the best” of 25,000 cadets to attend their National Flight Academy.”It’s very hands on, and it’s very, it’s an intense course for them,” said director, Daniel Leclair.Eighteen cadets from around the U.S. are learning here at Dewitt Field.”They live and breathe aviation for the time that they’re here,” said Leclair.Some are from right here in Maine.”Just everything about flying has always interested me. Now, here, I get to do what I always dreamed I would,” said 16-year-old Adam Hathaway, a cadet from Veazie.This course means a lot to their instructors, who say the interest to be a pilot is on the decline.”It’s amazing the number of kids that don’t have an interest in flying. At my age, I sort of remember everybody wanting to fly, and now, there’s not as much of an interest,” said Major Greg Curtis, Squadron Commander of the Auburn Civil Air Patrol.That makes teaching young aviation enthusiasts even better for Curtis, a former B-52 pilot.”To get a group of kids together, they have a strong need to learn how to fly, and want to do it, is very comforting and rewarding for us to be able to do it, and to teach them,” said Curtis.”I’ve always kind of wanted to be a pilot, and join the military,” said Maggie Chappell from Springfield, Missouri.”I’ve always liked flying. Like, I ski jump, so that’s like a way of flying, I’ve always liked going in the air,” said Erika Tischbein from Hanover, New Hampshire.With a student to teacher ratio of two to one, there’s an opportunity to really soar here.”It’s beyond what like I expected. It’s like amazing,” said Tischbein.”I thought that flying was going to be too expensive, or I couldn’t do it, but I found a program like this that helps me fly and now I can pursue my dreams and anybody else can,” said Hathaway.The cadets will get ten hours each in the air this week, putting them a third of the way along the path to their private pilot’s licenses.


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