Air cadets recently got the chance to take to the skies in fixed wing and glider aircraft at the Canadian Rockies International Airport over the May long weekend.
Gliding and power familiarization flying are just two of many aviation related subjects within the air cadet program, and every spring, regional cadets get the chance to spread their wings and fly.
Local cadets, along with the Elk Valley squadron, teamed up with Regional Air Cadet Operations (RCAOps), which sent a Cessna 182 and gliders from Oliver to take flight. All cadets had the opportunity to get up in the glider; first the junior cadets, while the senior cadets took flights in the tow plane.
All in all, 22 cadets from the 552 Key City Squadron (Cranbrook), flew on Saturday while 18 cadets with the 279 Elk Valley Squadron (Elkford, Sparwood, Fernie) flew on Sunday.
The glider is a non-motorized aircraft that is pulled along the runway and into the air by the tow plane. Once both aircraft certain altitude, the tow cable releases from the tow plane, and the glider floats in the air, giving a different and silent perspective as opposed to a propeller or jet aircraft.
When the pilot is ready to land, the operator brings the aircraft down on the runway like a regular airplane.
Cadets are responsible for preparing the glider for flight, for moving it into position on the runway, and moving it off the runway between launches, if necessary.
For some cadets, it was their first chance to fly in the aircraft and for some, it was their first flight ever.
“I don’t know how to describe it, but it was nice,” said Leading Air Cadet Sula Valdal.
Fellow cadets agreed.
“It was pretty good, very cool seeing everything from the way up high,” said LAC Kaeden vonWittgenstein.
Air Cadet Erik Talbot noted the silence that accompanied the flight.
“My first flight was great, quiet and indescribable,” he said.