By DON DWIGGINS

tT'S NO SECRET that America's nationwide Air Force Auxitiary, the Civil Air Patrol, a quasi-military outfit, came under this magazine's censure
ago because of what its editors consider a less than praiseworthy track record in teaching its cadets to fly.

not long

FOUND: aCAPcadet

ln

case you've forgotten, the CAP

was bom of battle during World War Tl. at a limq when virtualll a.ll cirilian flying was curtailed during the national emergency. President Franklin D. planes

program

Roosevelt called for 100,000 warto darken the skies, but pilots

to fly them he did not have. Out of this situation emerged two widely
disparate organizations, the CAP and the WTS. The latter. known as the War

that reallv
swings!
Eager cadets g(t d nat) htiefing Jiom

'u

IN VAN NUYS, CALIFORNIA, THE CONDOR S1UADRON CADETS DON'T JUST MARCH _ THEY FLY!

.' i.

lnrlructor l/dletie Demirdiiatt, one oJ'
sererul \rho donate tlme to the progran.

I

l r

Training Sewice, was created on December J l, lq4l. as a mililariTalion of the Civil Aeronautics Authority's Civilian Pilot Training Program

of Civilian Defense which signed up more than
nation's Office
largest organizalion
12,000,000 civilian d€fense voluntee$, of its kind in

Today, CAI pilots donate their time largely ro aerial searches for missing

aircraft and related missions. and again, despite the dedication of the
majority, there is still criticism, mosdy from outsiders jealous of their free chits that permit weekend flYing in war surplus trainers that gobble gas like it was going out of stYle. In addition, one significant mission of
CAP,
as a

(CPIP). bom in lg38 as a depre.sion effort widely criticized at the time as a
"boondoggle" and a "fraudulent warmaking govemment agency." Fortunately, due to FDR'S vision, the CPT/WTS got rolling, swept flight

history. Civilian pilots unqualified for

military service organized into patrol squadrons for non-conbat home-duty missions, searching for saboteurs,
enemy submarines and the like.

in

coastal waters

of the 400,000 more than and helped nation young men win their wings, among them such heroes as John Glenn, Joe Foss and America's leading fighter ace, Dck Bong. Civilian coun terpart of the CPT/WTS was, you may remember, the Civil Air Patrol, a branch of the
training into every corner

From the start there were grumblings, despite the fact that the majority of CAP personnel were dedicaled airmen doing the best they could. Critics claimed they were able to get gasoline ration stamps and fly in restricted defense zones when other civilian pilots were grounded for the duration. But, that's war lor you.

USAF auxilary, is to sefle

as

a standby force able to inspire

and

of airmanship and so help to exPand this country's pilot pool of readYmade birdmen.

train America's youth in the mysteries

Not all CAP squadrons

seem to have

met this responsibility; cadets

and

senior members alike have confirmed that training planes donated to the CAP by the Air Force are seldom or never flown by cadets. But, as often happens, you can sometimes find Your Blue Bird right in your own backyard. Hidden back in PLANE & PILOT'S Art Department is this attractive gal-

type artist, Valerie Demirdjian, whose
only goal in life seems to be to make a writer's work look better than it rcally is. Little did we know that she led a double life, aid was dona{ing evcry spare minute of her tine to cadct taining out at Condor Cladet Squadron l6Z a CAP unit based at Van NuYs Airport in Los Angeles.

"Yorr should comc see a real swingin' operation," she pleaded.

"This one is for real!" We had known Val wls a pilot, but somehow suspected she was just a dumb blonde thrilled over airplanes. We wcre only half riglrt. Val has been hooked on flying since she was a kid,

but she is no dumb blonde. Married to an Air Force pilot, Lieutenant John
Demirdjian, she lives, thinks, flies and draws airplanes, is holder of a commercial airman's certificate with instructor
rating, and is about to go for her IFR
card.

Val, too, was a little disillusioned with th€ CAP, which she joincd at l6 with the mistaken idea this would lead to an immediate takeoff intQ the wild blue yonder. "lt was the only thing I ever really wanted to do," she recalls. "l'd listened to all those radio commercials, how You join the CAP

mal\t rn rn ruute Jeten t Lt J jdil t,
clear the ai6pace you descend into

"You h)ill gct 56,0()0 dentrritt il-tou

.. -''
/l

g

lllill=
I t
I

lrl

and, go Zoom. Instead, I learned to salute, march, say Yes, Sir and No, Sir, and how to identify enemy missiles."

you're going to be military, do
way.

it

our

"John Dickinson, the

airport

I
I
!

I

I

I
I I

I

I
I

Whenever her dad took her on a commercial plane tdp as a little brat, she refused to get off the slfp- "I just hung onto my seat and screamed if they tried to take me off! " This kind of early determination finally paid off when Val walked 15

rnanager, arranged free tiedown for the

cost," says Marsh. "It turned out the kids can fly for only $7.50 an hour,

150, and we scrounged gasoline at

miles over

to Van Nuys

Airport,

Val Capt. John Williams and Chief Warrant Officers
Yolunteers besides

wet!" Condor Squadron has four CFI

looked up a freelance flight instructor and emptied her piggr bank in his lap - $250 worth of nickels and dim.es. When that ran out she hung around washing planes, paying $20 an hour for air time.

Jim McGettigan, Dennis O'Keefe and Dennis Dugar. Frank Boslough, a rated AI, donates his time for regular 100-hour inspections, maintenance
and alnual relicensing.

7
ITIKI
lncludes:

Finally she heard that this crazy

\

outfit, the cAP condor squadron,
wanted condors painted on the sides

of its T6s, and

traded off

some

nilfrn
aR. $1t25

impromptu a.t work for some rear seat T-6 time. Thus it went with Val, as with so many youngsters today who

Wonderful collection of speedy sport planes, build-it and fly-it
specials, war birds, antiques.

are eager to fly and will not be stopped. On her 18th birthday she

sPoRrs PLANE'

won her coYeted private license. Love did not interlere wilh flying off she went to Hamilton AFB and

FOR EVERYEODY lntroduction to the world

Seymour Johnson AFB with her
Lieutenant-husband, logging more and

THE TAI L'S OUT FRONT

with

R ad

ical canard pusher
sPace-age ideas
as

SUPER STARDUSTER TOO

Smaller, stronger, just
MODERN ANTIGIUE:

more flight time in local flying clubs wherever she went. Then finally she had her CFI licket and 500 hours in her log book ard was out at Van Nuys early each weekend, looking for customers.

THE OEMOISELLE Y€st€rday's style, today!5 THE GLAMOR OF THE WARBIRDS Gallery of popular military TIP5 FOR HOMEBUILDE RS Fly EabY Book works for most wood designs
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kids,

"I

decided not

to

remembering

what I'd

charge the poor
gone

through," Va1 says. "But that didn't work. They lost motiYation. So I
charged $8 an hour and by golly, they showed up!" It was then the Condor Squadron

a dunking, but in this case dn innocent bystander got os thoroughly \4,e t ds the new bidman.

Ftlrt solo lates

pilots impressed Val, the way they took up kids for rides in return for
odd chores, and she suddenly reversed

"It's really caught on," says Marsh. "Everybody wants in, to help these wonderful kids. We've got a cadet waiting list 30 names long and every
day more call us tojoin." These aspirants are put on standby, because therc's only so much time the

IT:IIII'II

t o

her opinion ofwhat CAP guys are like.

q'
d

13
l-c

FE i oE : z= n
Ors :

Here was a bunch of sympathetic weekend warriors who did more than fly around on Uncle Sam's gas; they'd all chipped in ard built an attractive Operations Building and had a bunch of goodJooking T-6s on the flight line. along

with a

150 can stay in the air. That adds up to 30 cadets, about half of whom are currently on flying status, three for each instructor, who stays with them clear through the flight training progIam.

Beaver and

an

L-16

<# I
E[ ?s oH E!
UJF FF
YO

donated by the Air Force. These were not toys - they were prized aircraft to be used to best advantage.

Ground school

is

conducted by

Capt. Williams, who donates two hours a week to teaching required subjects

o.9

trJ

t
z

f ad dd-

o o

I

The Squadron Commander, Ray Marsh, arranged for a rental Cessna 150 ro start lhe cadet flighr rraining program off on the right foot last fall it seems tie Air Force today looks down on taildraggers, and considers if

recommended by the USAF's Aerospace Education Achievement program prepared at Maxwell AFB, the same as

the USAF's ROTC program.
cadet achievement

Each

in

ground school

wins him a stdpe; when he wins three

fine motiYation. This unique flight tnining program, which began in September, 1971, now totals 26 active cadets, half of them on flight status. One boy, Robert Bych,

in a T-6, which works as a

stdpes he's eligible for a cockpit check

AIR FORCE STYLE

18, had been flying akeady for

2%

years and is a rated private pilot. Six other cadets have been soloed since the program started - Doyle Smith, 18, Joe Cornwell, 18, Bdan Kramer, 17, his brother Mike, 17, Steve Hart,
17, and Terry Trien, 17.

Ai rman

program requires 20 hours of dual prior to solo, and when we visited the base, three

Thc Condor Squadron

Sunglasses
from the AMEBICAN OPTICAL COMPANY

other cadets were halging around
anxious to get in more presolo time

Neil Friedman, Phillip Parker
even tholgh his dad

and

-

Randy Marsh. There is no nepotism involved where Randy is concemed,
Commander. In fact, he works just a liltle harder. says Vai. to prove he's in there flying in eamest. Weekend flying is not the whole story - during the year cadets are exposed to as much as they can absorb in today's aerospace world. There are trips to the control tower at Van Nuys. the nadon's busiest airporl . . . DC-8 flight simulators to fly at the Flying Tiger hangar at LAX (The

is

Squadron

Tigers are among

the

squadron's

vival
ments.

sponsors). . . three-day mountain sur-

courses.. , weekend encamp-

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The very looseness

of this

CAP

ciNLY

cadet program apparently is its best virtue, because the CFls aren't bound by rigd FAA rules or military discipline. "If we find something works better, we do it that way," says Val. Item: For every hour flying time with a cadet, she puts in a full hour of
classroom briefing on what they're going to do upstairs, plus an hour's debriefing.

$10.95

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Val uses both partial panel and integrated instrument training, favors spin demonstrations, actual forced landings and aerobatics as vital to good appreciation of what an airplane can do, Item: when one of her boys took off on a solo cross-country and found the airspeed indicator inoperative, he calmly radioed the tower, declared an
emergency, returned and landed. There's only one slight problem Val

DDGDNVII|']DII
Box 253s1-p, cA e0025 Sorry, foreign orders, except Canada, not accepted. No C.O.D.'s. Please send me-pair(s) Airman Sunglasses at $10.95 each Add 50c each pair for postage/handling
Name

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has found with these eager young fellows they fall in love with her at first sight. But hell, can you blame

rty
State

them?

zi

tr

-

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