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Cadets Soar to New Heights with Texas Wing Glider Flight Academy

July 16, 2022

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Waller, Texas (16 July) – Cadets from across the nation gathered at the Soaring Club of Houston on 9 July to fly gliders and learn the basics of flight. Five cadets earned solo wings, with several more students well on their way to earning their own solo wings. 


The Glider Flight Academy, hosted in south Texas, was established in 2008 by Major David Ayre. The academy continues to grow in popularity and diversity. This year, nearly half of the students were female cadets. Soloing cadet Major Maryanne Yoakum is a returning student from Mildenhall Cadet Squadron and resides in Togo, West Africa. “Civil Air Patrol has challenged me in ways I wasn’t able to find in my life before,” Yoakum stated, “I find that the community around aviation, especially gliding, is one that constantly challenges me.” 


In addition, two new cadets, Cadet Airman Matteo Lion and Cadet Airman Antonio Lion earned the Major General John F. Curry Award and their first stripes while attending the Academy.


At the conclusion of the academy, four cadets received solo wings and 13 more received pre-solo awards. The cadets were kept busy throughout the entire academy. Students started strongly,  completing 66 flights on the first day. As students became more proficient in managing flight line operations, the number of flights grew every day. In total, 400 flights were conducted between 21 students. Flights ranged anywhere from a few minutes to almost an hour, as instructors taught their students emergency procedures. The most exciting and stressful procedure to learn was how to safely return a glider to the ground after having a tow rope failure. 


When not on the flight line, students attended ground school learning all of the math, science, and general knowledge required to complete the written tests necessary to be awarded their wings.


Students start each flight hooking the glider to the tow plane with a 200 foot long rope. A trained wingrunner inspects the rope and attachment to the glider. The wingrunner then works through a set of signals to take up slack and communicate with the tow plane to begin the run up. Once the glider is at a predetermined altitude they disconnect from the tow plane and seek out rising air through thermals or updrafts. The greatest reward students see is the altitude climbing without the benefit of an engine. “To describe the feeling of getting to solo in a glider is absolutely unreal,” Cadet Second Lieutenant Michael Costello stated, “I’ve soloed in a powered aircraft before, but this was even better. Up there, you are without an engine, and you really feel like you are truly in control of the aircraft…[and] I would recommend it to anyone.”


The Texas Wing Glider Flight Academy continues to look toward the future by introducing cadets around the country and the world to the science of soaring, and the joys of flight. If you are interested in getting more information or getting involved as a cadet or instructor, please visit NCSAS.com.


Established in 1941, Civil Air Patrol is the official auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force and as such is a member of its Total Force. In its auxiliary role, CAP operates a fleet of 555 single-engine aircraft and 2,250 small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (sUAS) and performs about 90% of all search and rescue operations within the contiguous United States as tasked by the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center. Often using innovative cell phone forensics and radar analysis software, CAP was credited by the AFRCC with saving 108 lives last year. CAP’s 56,000 members also perform homeland security, disaster relief and drug interdiction missions at the request of federal, state and local agencies. As a nonprofit organization, CAP plays a leading role in aerospace education using national academic standards-based STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education resources. Members also serve as mentors to over 23,000 young people participating in CAP’s Cadet Programs.


Visit www.CAP.News or www.GoCivilAirPatrol.com for more information.

For More Information:


Author - Cadet Major Noah Shepson

Will Holloway - wholloway@abilenecap.org, 325-518-1620

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