One of their instructors likened the group of
25 Civil Air Patrol cadets learning about ight at aweeklong ight academy to sponges.
“They’re soaking wet, tired and full of infor-mation at the end of the day,” he said, “but theycome back the next day fresh and ready for more.”The academy, sponsored by the MinnesotaWing of the Civil Air Patrol, is an intense coursedesigned to teach students from Minnesota, Iowa,South Dakota and Nebraska about ground and airoperations of both powered airplanes and gliders,said the Civil Air Patrol’s Dave Skaar.
“The idea is to give them the experience of ying,
not necessarily time in the airplane,” Skaar said.
To get that experience, cadets spent the rst
three days of the academy in the classroom, learn-ing about how an airplane or glider works andthe basic controls. The students also learn aboutsafety around aircraft and performing duties on theground with the gliders, such as hooking them tothe tow plane and guiding the wing as they gainspeed on the ground.
For the next three days, the cadets learn to ythe airplane or glider, taking short ights called
Pat ChristmanThe Mankato (MN) Free Press
sorties with an instructor.Many of the 4- to 8-year-old cadets take
their rst solo airplane or glider ight during the
academy, an experience that leaves them smilingfrom ear to ear, but also costs them their shirt.A tradition among pilots, students takingtheir first solo flight have the date written ontheir shirt and a panel cut out of it to rememberthe experience.
Ben Leaf, 15, closes the canopy on a glider as he prepares
for his second solo ight during the Civil Air Patrol’s ight academy at the Mankato Municipal Airport. Photo -
C/CMSgt Ben Leaf gives the thumbs up with his ground crew.
A glider lands while a powered ight takes off during the
Minnesota Wing Flight Academy.