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Winchester Civil Air Patrol cadet flies solo

December 12, 2022

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WINCHESTER, Va. (December 13, 2022) – Cadet Technical Sergeant Matthew Simpson, of Kearneysville, West Virginia, and a member of Civil Air Patrol’s (CAP) Winchester Composite Squadron, flew his solo flight last week at Winchester Regional Airport.

Cadet Simpson is training towards his private pilot license. The solo flight is the first flight in which a student no longer has an instructor in the aircraft with them. He shared, “I felt accomplished once was able to solo. During the last six months, I practiced a lot of landings and aerial maneuvers with Lt Col Anderson. I knew my solo was coming and chose the date as it was my 16th birthday and would be eligible to fly solo starting on that day.”

Cadet Simpson is training under the tutelage of CAP member and certified flight instructor, Lieutenant Colonel Dean “Norm” Anderson. The wing headquarters coordinated that a C172 Cessna would be located at Winchester to support these training efforts. Several other cadets are training in Winchester as well.

Any cadets in CAP who want to experience flight have the opportunity to fly five powered and five non-powered flights for free. These orientation flights introduce piloting to cadets and allow them to operate the aircraft controls. Separately, the flight instruction provided by CAP is in accordance with the Federal Aviation Administration flight rules and training that civilian flight instructors offer. The cadets have to perform against rigorous standards and ensure the check pilot has faith that they are safe to fly before earning their certificate. The big difference for CAP cadets is that they save money as they pay only the basic cost of using the aircraft (maintenance fee and fuel cost) and do not have to pay for instruction. CAP flight instructors, as volunteers, are not allowed to charge for their instruction.

For others that may be thinking about aviation and flying, Cadet Simpson encouraged, “definitely pursue the training. Civil Air Patrol is the best way to get into aviation as well as the most cost effective.” Cadet Simpson shared his future goals include becoming a flight instructor and flying for an airline.

About Virginia Wing

The Virginia Wing of the Civil Air Patrol, with 22 squadrons spread throughout the Commonwealth has approximately 1,800 members, 12 light aircraft, and 29 multi-purpose vehicles. These assets are available to federal, state and local governments, emergency responders and law enforcement agencies to perform search and rescue, homeland security, disaster relief, humanitarian assistance and counter-drug missions. For more information on the Virginia Wing, visit the wing’s website at and Faceboook page at

About Civil Air Patrol
Established in 1941, Civil Air Patrol is the official auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force and as such is a member of its Total Force. In its auxiliary role, CAP operates a fleet of 555 single-engine aircraft and 2,250 small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (sUAS) and performs about 90% of all search and rescue operations within the contiguous United States as tasked by the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center. Often using innovative cellphone forensics and radar analysis software, CAP was credited by the AFRCC with saving 108 lives last year. CAP’s 58,000 members also perform homeland security, disaster relief, and drug interdiction missions at the request of federal, state, and local agencies. As a nonprofit organization, CAP plays a leading role in aerospace education using national academic standards-based STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) education resources. Members also serve as mentors to 24,000 young people participating in CAP’s Cadet Programs.

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