April 24, 2011
Four cadets from St. Augustine Civil Air Patrol Composite Squadron 173 recently went glider flying at Herlong Airport in Jacksonville as part of the Civil Air Patrol Cadet Orientation Program.
Cadet Master Sgt. Andrew Li, Airman First Class Alexander Droste and Kerry O'Brien, and Airman Brandon Aviles were each taken on a 30-minute orientation flight by CAP Pilot John McGlynn and also a member of the North Florida Flying Society. McGlynn took the group on preflight inspection of the two-seater Blanik L23 glider while he explained some of the basics of non-powered flight. Then each cadet stepped on a scale so that McGlynn knew how much weight he had to deal with.
A Piper Pawnee PA-25-235 tow aircraft flew the glider up to an altitude of 3,000 feet where the two aircraft were separated and the glider was on its own.
Li and Droste had taken glider orientation flights previously, but it was a first for O'Brien and Aviles.
Aviles admitted to being a bit nervous before climbing into the front seat of the glider, but when he was finished, he sounded like a veteran pilot while telling how much he liked the thermals. "They were so cool the way they lifted you up.
It was amazing!" shouted Li with raised arms as the canopy was lifted and he unbuckled the safety harness.
The cadets were accompanied by Squadron Commander Capt. Ralph Aviles and Senior Member Dennis Maloney.
Civil Air Patrol cadets are eligible for 10 orientation flights in CAP aircraft, including gliders and airplanes. The United States Air Force also frequently schedules orientation flights for CAP cadets in transport aircraft such as the KC-10 Extender, C-130 Hercules and the C-17 Globemaster III.