PLYMOUTH - A group of young men and women took to the air on Saturday for their first flight with the Civil Air Patrol (CAP) at Plymouth Municipal Airport.
The group of mostly high school age youths are part of the CAP’s cadet program for young people between the ages of 12 and 21. The program allows the cadets to gain experience and knowledge in aerospace programs, engineering and science. Cadets can earn academic scholarships for their work.
The hour-long flights in single-engine aircraft introduced cadets to the science that makes flight possible. Civil Air Patrol aerospace education curriculum is designed to provide hands-on lessons about navigation, weather, aircraft instruments, and flight maneuvers.
The cadets’ day began by helping with pre-flight safety checks and an aviation weather briefing. Cadets observed their pilots during take-off, climbing to 3,000 feet. While aloft, cadets are given the option of handling the controls during the non-critical stages of the flight.
Once they reach their assigned altitude, cadets assist pilots in navigating to neighboring airports for a brief pit stop. CAP pilots repeat the round-trip throughout the day until each cadet is given the opportunity to fly.
CAP Pilots from Indianapolis, LaPorte, and Terre Haute took part in orientation flights for the Cadets on Saturday, helping 28 cadets to experience the thrill of flight.
Civil Air Patrol, the official auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force, is a nonprofit organization with more than 61,000 members nationwide, operating a fleet of 550 aircraft. CAP, in its Air Force auxiliary role, performs 90 percent of continental U.S. inland search and rescue missions.
CAP members are volunteers and also perform homeland security, disaster relief and drug interdiction missions at the request of federal, state and local agencies. Civil Air Patrol cadets from Marshall, Jasper, St. Joseph, Porter and Kosciusko Counties took part in the orientation flight activities.