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Have you ever flown an airplane?

The vast majority of you reading this article would answer, “No, I have never flown an airplane.” On Monday, August 13, 2012, the answer to that question became “Yes, I have flown an airplane” for six young members of the Boone Composite Squadron Civil Air Patrol.

For the first time in their lives, each cadet had the thrill of flying a Cessna 182 during a portion of their flight between Logan and Bluefield.

Cadet Orientation Flights – that what Civil Air Patrol calls the six flights every CAP cadet can take in the front seat of a Cessna aircraft with an experienced Orientation Flight Instructor by their side.

After receiving instruction in how to conduct a preflight inspection of the aircraft, then two cadets at time, one in the front seat at the controls, and one in the back seat awaiting his or her turn, left Logan Airport and headed for Bluefield. Once airborne, the Orientation Pilot carefully instructed the cadet beside him on how to control the aircraft, including how to bank and turn as well as how to maintain altitude and stay on the desired compass heading for their destination. Once they were on the ground in Bluefield, the backseat rider became the front seat flyer and the trio returned to Logan, where the next two cadets were anxiously awaiting their turn.

Cadets Larry Copen, Mikayla Kirk, Makenzee Miller, Trinity Miller, Matthew Smith and Dalton Wilson each experienced the exhilaration and fun of flying, with all six cadets declaring their intentions to fly again as soon as their squadron can arrange another flying opportunity.

Have you ever built and launched a bottle rocket? The chances are a little better that your answer to that question is “Yes, I have built and launched a bottle rocket.” However, the six cadets named above could not answer “Yes” to that question until Tuesday, August 14, when they took their own 2-liter bottle rockets to Chief Logan State Park for the Boone Squadron’s Rocket Launch Competition. The cadets had built the rockets at their squadron headquarters on Monday evening, under the instruction and direction of Cadet Commander C/Major Jon Ball. The next day, two hours of launching their rockets and recording the results provided loads of fun and a few surprises. Cadet Trinity Miller was judged to have the best rocket based upon the height and duration of its flight. Several family members of the cadets came along for the launch and a picnic after the competition.

The local CAP squadron conducts aerospace activities and holds search and rescue training for all of its members. Cadets regularly train in leadership skills and learn military drill and ceremonies as well as character development and safety. Young people aged 12 through 18 years old can join as cadets and 19 year olds and older can join as senior members to help oversee and conduct the program. The local squadron has a webpage at www.wvboonecap.webs.com

Civil Air Patrol, the official auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force, is a nonprofit organization with more than 61,000 members nationwide, operating a fleet of 550 aircraft. CAP, in its Air Force auxiliary role, performs 90 percent of continental U.S. inland search and rescue missions as tasked by the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center and was credited by the AFRCC with saving 54 lives in fiscal year 2011. Its volunteers 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 nearly 27,000 young people currently participating in the CAP cadet program. CAP received the World Peace Prize in 2011 and has been performing missions for America for 70 years. CAP also participates in Wreaths Across America, an initiative to remember, honor and teach about the sacrifices of U.S. military veterans. In addition to the local unit’s webpage, you may visit the National Headquarters’ webpages www.gocivilairpatrol.com or www.capvolunteernow.com for more information.

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