Cadet glider training was held on July 11 at Danielson Airport for the inaugural implementation of the agreement. The day's events were initiated by Colonel Dale Hardy (New Hampshire Wing), supervisor of flying for the day, and Colonel James Linker (Maine Wing), Director of the Northeast Region Glider Program.
Flights were conducted using a Schweizer 2-33 glider and a Piper Pawnee tow plane. After a safety briefing and explanation of the aircraft and its controls, cadets strapped into the glider cockpit and launched on a flight consisting of instruction in airmanship. Each cadet, on their first flight, was towed to 3,200 feet where the glider was released. Cadets then practiced straight and level flight and coordinated turns and learned how to interpret cockpit instruments under the tutelage of Civil Air Patrol Senior Member Daryl Smith (CT-074) who is also a Chief Instructor Pilot for CSA. Smith manned the last learning station with a second glider before cadets departed on their orientation flight. “At this station I walked cadets through preflight preparations, the proper way to get in and out of the glider, flight controls and their function, tow rope connections and pre-takeoff checklist items,” said Smith.
When not flying, cadets shadowed a CSA member and assisted in duties necessary to get a glider aloft. They rotated through wing runner and tow plane “mirror” positions. Wing runners attach the tow rope, hold the wings level during the initial stages of the launch, and signal the tow plane when all is ready. The tow plane “mirror” stands in a position where he is visible to the tow plane pilot and repeats the signals sent from the wing runner. Joseph Koptonok, CSA President, explained that glider flying is a “community”
This was Connecticut Soaring Society's first combined operation with Civil Air Patrol. CSA provided all the equipment, aircraft and staffing in support of the CAP Orientation Flights. “At the end of the day CSA members involved in the operation held a short debriefing and all agreed that we were able to provide all of the elements CAP needed for their flights and that CAP fit very nicely into our operation. We all look forward to more combined CAP/CSA operations in the future,” said Daryl Smith (CAP/CSA).
Connecticut Wing Commander, Colonel Kenneth Chapman, stated his pleasure with how well the day went, from the weather to the “promising future of CSA and CAP cooperation which will bring new opportunities for Connecticut youth, both boys and girls, to engage in a challenging and rewarding activity.”
Cadets who had the opportunity to fly were C/Tech Sergeant Carson Hadley, C/Airman Jacob Waite, C/Chief Master Sergeant Zachary Capron, C/Airman First Class Zachary Costa-Mello, all from Danielson Cadet Squadron (CT-074), and C/Staff Sergeant James Dossantos from Waterbury Composite Squadron (CT-011).
Civil Air Patrol, the official auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force, is a nonprofit organization with 60,000 members nationwide, operating a fleet of 550 aircraft.CAP, in its Air Force auxiliary role, performs about 85 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 70 lives annually. Its unpaid professionals also perform homeland security, disaster relief and drug interdiction missions at the request of federal, state and local agencies. The members play a leading role in aerospace education and serve as mentors to more than 25,000 young people currently participating in the CAP cadet programs. Performing missions for America for over 70 years, CAP will receive the Congressional Gold Medal in 2015 in honor of the heroic efforts of its World War II veterans. CAP also participates in Wreaths Across America, an initiative to remember, honor and teach about the sacrifices of U.S. military veterans. Visit www.gocivilairpatrol.com, www.capvolunteernow.com and www.capgoldmedal.com for more information.