Teens learn to fly through local Civil Air Patrol
by The Press and Standard | June 7, 2019 5:00 pm
Last Updated: June 5, 2019 at 1:46 pm
By 1st LT. RACHAEL MERCER
It’s not often that you hear a 12-year-old say, “Yesterday I got to hold the controls of a plane,” or “Yesterday I learned what ailerons are.” But that’s exactly what some Colleton County 12-year-olds are able to say after taking their first orientation flight through Civil Air Patrol.
Civil Air Patrol, an auxiliary of the United States Air Force, has a squadron in Colleton County which currently meets in Cottageville. This squadron, which is the fastest-growing squadron in South Carolina, provides orientation flights to its new cadets within the first 90 days of their membership, in keeping with a mandate of the Air Force.
“This is an element of Civil Air Patrol that sets it apart from other youth organizations,” said Capt. Jim Wilson, commander of the ACE Basin Composite Squadron. “Every cadet who joins Civil Air Patrol receives five free orientation flights as just one part of their membership.”
According to the national website for Civil Air Patrol (www.gocivilairpatrol.com), CAP partners with EAA, the Experimental Aircraft Association. When cadets complete their first CAP orientation flight, EAA considers them one of their “Young Eagles.” A cadet’s status as a “Young Eagle” comes with zero obligations, but some great benefits, including:
• Free access to Sporty’s Learn to Fly course ($199 value)
• Free Soaring Society of America cadet membership
• Free admission to 400-plus science and technology museums
• Free Academy of Model Aeronautics student membership
• Free electronic copy of EAA Sport Aviation magazine
• Free access to EEA Virtual Flight Academy-Stage One: Fundamentals of Flight ($29.95 value)
• Access to valuable flight training awards, education scholarships, and Air Academy camperships
Civil Air Patrol is a great program for youth ages 12 and up and for adults as well. Students must join before their 18th birthday — doing so enables them to remain in the program until age 21. Those who join CAP after turning 18 are automatically enrolled in the Senior Member program. Senior members are a big need for this growing squadron whose cadet membership has grown by 400% this year.
The ACE Basin Composite Squadron meets on Tuesday nights 6-8 p.m. at 72 Salley Ackerman Dr., Cottageville, behind the town hall building. Prospective cadets must attend three meetings and are eligible to complete their membership paperwork on the third visit. Senior members, who are adults 18 and over, are eligible for membership upon completing the required paperwork and the background checks.
For more information about the ACE Basin Composite Squadron, contact Capt. Jim Wilson at 843-343-7086 or firstname.lastname@example.org or Maj. Tina Peterson, 843-460-7445 or email@example.com.
Civil Air Patrol, the longtime all-volunteer U.S. Air Force auxiliary, is the newest member of the Air Force’s Total Force. In this role, CAP operates a fleet of 560 aircraft, performs about 90 percent of continental U.S. inland search-and-rescue missions as tasked by the Air Force.
Rescue Coordination Center and is credited by the AFRCC with saving an average of 80 lives annually. CAP’s 60,000 members also perform homeland security, disaster relief and drug interdiction missions at the request of federal, state and local agencies. In addition, CAP plays a leading role in aerospace/STEM education, and its members serve as mentors to over 25,000 young people participating in CAP’s Cadet Programs. Visit www.GoCivilAirPatrol.com or www.CAP.news for more information.