Civil Air Patrol

Cadets soar to new heights with glider flights

Photo by Maj. Todd Mandel - Cadet Captain Michael Cunningham waits with Senior Member Michael Vaughn after a successful landing. (Cadet Cunningham is from La Crosse)

Photo by Maj. Todd Mandel – Cadet Captain Michael Cunningham waits with Senior Member Michael Vaughn after a successful landing. (Cadet Cunningham is from La Crosse)

Photo by Maj. Todd Mandel - Cadet Staff Sergeant Drew Lysaker relaxes in the cockpit before his flight. (Cadet Lysaker is from Galesville)

Photo by Maj. Todd Mandel – Cadet Staff Sergeant Drew Lysaker relaxes in the cockpit before his flight. (Cadet Lysaker is from Galesville)

Hampshire, Ill. – When most people think of flying they immediately think of powered aircraft such as airliners or general aviation aircraft.  However, for nine cadets from the La Crosse Composite Squadron, they recently had the chance to experience flying in unpowered gliders at the Sky Soaring Club in Hampshire, Illinois.

The flights were free of charge to the cadets as part of the Civil Air Patrol orientation flight program which allows cadets to receive five glider and five powered orientation flights at no cost to the cadet.  These flights, flown by highly trained and certified Civil Air Patrol pilots, allow cadets to learn progressively about how each type of aircraft flies, handles, and lands.  “It was fun,” commented Cadet Captain Michael Cunningham who is currently a powered flight pilot-in-training, “the difference between flying with and without power was pretty neat to see.”

For each of the La Crosse Composite Squadron cadets, these flights represented the first time any of them had flown in an unpowered glider.  The gliders the cadets flew were donated to the Civil Air Patrol in 2012 by the United States Air Force Academy.  During the day each cadet received at least two flights where they learned about take-off, stalls, stall recovery, turns, and landing a glider.The flights were flown by Captain John Baker and Senior Member Michael Vaughn, both of which are Civil Air Patrol Glider Check Pilots.

A glider is similar to a powered aircraft except that it lacks a propeller and engine.  Cadets were towed by a tow plane to 3,000 feet and then the glider was released.  The gliders stayed aloft for nearly twenty minutes per flight. 

The La Crosse Composite Squadron meets at 9:00 a.m. on Saturday mornings at the CAP Center located at 2906 Fanta Reed Road on the east side of the La Crosse Municipal Airport. Prospective cadets, ages 12-18, and their parents are always welcome. Adults seeking mentoring opportunities or opportunities to serve are invited as well. For more information visit http://lacrossecap.org or call Major Todd Mandel at 608-633-1496 or email at todd.mandel@gmail.com.

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