13:14 PM

Cadets Aim High at Summer's Last National Flight Academy

Sixteen cadets at Civil Air Patrol’s Northeast Region Glider Flight Academy this week make up a select group – the last to participate in a full summer of CAP opportunities to learn more about flying.

It’s the 19th National Flight Academy hosted by CAP over the past three months. The academies have given more than 900 cadets a closer look at powered, glider and hot-air balloon flight.

Some have gotten to fly solo – a milestone in training toward a pilot’s certificate.

The academy opened Saturday and will run through Aug. 20 at Hartness State Airport in Vermont’s Windsor County. It’s actually the second such academy in the last two weeks; the previous Northeast Region Glider Flight Academy was held July 28-Aug. 5. The activity director is Col. Dale Hardy, a CAP mission pilot.


Each National Flight Academy is designed for cadets who want to learn to fly. Participants receive formal ground instruction and cockpit time with a certified flight instructor. The low instructor-to-student ratio provides opportunities for mentoring and individual attention.

“We believe our cadets receive some of the best instruction available,” said Wendy Hamilton, cadet career explorations manager for CAP Cadet Programs. “Many walk in not having flown other than a single orientation flight. However, our dedicated volunteers generally get one-third to solo.

“Nothing builds confidence and hooks you on flying like taking the plane or glider around the pattern alone. I still remember soloing over 30 years ago!” Hamilton said.


The Vermont academy is one of 50 National Cadet Special Activities sponsored by CAP this summer. These activities have allowed cadets to hone their skills in a variety of areas – including search and rescue, flight and emergency services, science, leadership fundamentals, citizenship and military courtesies – and to explore aerospace technology and aviation careers.

This year, more than 7,500 youth participated in CAP-sponsored summer activities.

“Our portfolio of national activities is designed to allow cadets to explore potential aviation, STEM (science, technology, engineering and math), military, or public service careers,” Hamilton said. “A one-week experience often connects a cadet to a lifetime of opportunities.”