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Future pilots are being trained at Civil Air Patrol’s Winchester Composite Squadron

May 20, 2021

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Photos: https://photos.cap.gov/Mid-Atlantic-Region/Virginia-Wing/Squadrons/MAR-VA-040/2021/2021-Flight-Training/ 
Winchester Composite Squadron Info: https://vawg.cap.gov/units/winchester 

WINCHESTER, Va. (May 20, 2021) – In just the last two months, one Civil Air Patrol (CAP) cadet earned their private pilot's certificate, another is just a few flights away from their certificate, while even more are on the flight path, with one having completed their solo flight and two planning to solo this coming summer. This flight training is provided in addition to regularly scheduled orientation flights open to all cadets.

Cadet Master Sergeant Camron MacLeod of Stephens City accomplished his private pilot check ride earning his private pilot certificate on April 12th. He is planning to start his instrument rating training soon. "I was inspired to obtain a pilot’s license by visiting Virginia Beach and seeing the F/A 18s fly over,” he shared. “Civil Air Patrol has added to my desire to be a pilot through o-rides [orientation flights] and flight training opportunities. I plan on flying for CAP and I am looking forward to the opportunities being a CAP pilot brings. In the future, I plan on applying for the Air Force Academy and Naval Academy. I would prefer Navy because I want to fly the F/A 18 Super Hornet on an aircraft carrier.”

Cadet Master Sergeant Francis “Patrick” Treutlein of Linden is a CAP Youth Aviation Initiative Cadet Wings scholarship recipient. As a result, CAP is paying for all training costs involved as he progresses to earn his certificate. He is only a few rides away from his private pilot check ride. When asked about his future, he shared, “I plan to use my pilot’s certificate as a stepping stone towards attending the [Air Force] Academy and being an Air Force pilot. Additionally, I hope to qualify as a CAP mission pilot later on, and to put my effort towards benefiting the community. CAP has provided me with this opportunity, and I plan on taking this momentum and moving forward to achieve my goals.”

It will be a busy summer for three other cadets in in the unit as well. Cadet Second Lieutenant Michael Stickley flew his solo flight on May 13th and has a goal of earning his certificate by July or August. The solo flight is significant as it is the flight when there is no instructor in the aircraft. Cadet Chief Master Sergeant Maximilian Germain has a goal to solo in July or August and Cadet Technical Sergeant Andrew Chang is on track to solo by the end of August. All the cadets are balancing the flight training time while still in high school or homeschool and are able to train because the minimum age to solo is 16 and the minimum age to receive your certificate is 17.

The unit has been able to offer this training thanks to the recent transfer of Lieutenant Colonel Dean Anderson from CAP’s Central New York Group. He quickly learned that the cadets had a great hunger to fly and had excellent timing and support. The wing headquarters coordinated that a C172 Cessna would be located at Winchester to support these training efforts.

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.

When asked why he volunteers when he could be paid, Lt. Col. Anderson shared, “CAP opens doors for cadets that would otherwise not be able to afford the training. It’s still not cheap, but it’s much less expensive than a flight school. And, while I may not receive monetary reward, that payment comes normally in the form of a smile. It is such a pleasure for me to offer this training to our cadets. I’ve heard many people say that volunteerism is a way to give back or pay forward what was given to them. And while that is certainly true for me; in my 25 years in the Air Force and additional 8 years as a DOD flight instructor, I’ve had experiences that the “17 year old me“ never dreamed of; the real reason for my volunteering is the satisfaction I see in the eyes of my students. It far outweighs any sense of ‘pay back.’  The smile on the face of a cadet after their first solo flight is unparalleled. As a flight instructor I am directly responsible for that smile. What a gift; for the student, certainly, but even more so, for me.”

For More Information:

Maj Jacob Bixler, CAP jacob.bixler @ vawg.cap.gov

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