Published On: Mon, Jan 23rd, 2012

Aerospace education one of main missions of Civil Air Patrol

BOCA RATON — Aerospace education is one of the primary missions of the Civil Air Patrol (CAP). It accomplishes that in many ways. CAP offers flight scholarships, summer flight and glider academies, detailed aerospace curriculum and orientation flights.

Boca Raton Composite Squadron Cadet Airman First Class Daniel Henao, an eighth grader at Loggers Run Middle School, took his first orientation flight (Oflight) out of Boca Raton Airport in a CAP Cessna 172. Here is his account:

“This was the first time I ever flew in a Cessna in my life. It was the craziest thing ever, when we lifted from the ground, I felt my heart drop and the blood rushing through my veins. My favorite thing is to fly in a plane, but it was a unique feeling to fly in a little one. Then later when we had enough air to see the horizon, the most beautiful thing I have ever seen was the reflection off the sun hit the edge of the earth. While flying the pilot said I’m going to take the wheel and I was like wow that’s awesome I actually get to fly! When I took the handles I felt the plane’s power going through my fingers. I remembered some advice an experienced pilot told me, that when you drive a plane, control it gently and I did. Then the CAP pilot said okay here you are going to turn right and so I did very gently. In the air when I turned against the sun I felt all its heat hitting my face. It gave me happiness while I was up there.”

“Later the pilot told me he loved my way of flying. I was so proud of myself. I have always wanted to fly planes since I was two years old and my dad first put a toy airplane in my hand. That’s when I fell in love with airplanes. Now that I’ve had my first Oflight I want to keep going to all of them, so I can learn more about planes. I learned a lot and I want solo at CAP’s Power Flight Academy. First I have to be 16 years of age so the only thing is to wait. In my opinion I think flying is the best feeling anyone can have. It is my dream to get my pilot’s license.”

“The Boca Raton Composite Squadron has a flight simulator so pilots and cadets can practice their skills. As part of its support of aerospace education the Boca Raton Composite Squadron will be on hand to assist the Collin’s Foundation when they bring the WWII Bombers in to Boca Raton Airport January 27th through 31st. “It is a great experience for our cadets,” says Squadron Commander 1st Lt Douglas Macdonald. “We are there to help with parking and greet visitors. Not only do our cadets get to hear firsthand accounts from area veterans, but several have actually gotten a ride in those giant birds.”

“Civil Air Patrol, the official auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force, is a nonprofit organization with 58,000 members nationwide. CAP, in its Air Force auxiliary role, performs 90 percent of continental U.S. inland search and rescue missions as tasked by the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center and was credited by the AFRCC with saving 72 lives in fiscal year 2009. Its volunteers also perform homeland security, disaster relief and counter-drug missions at the request of federal, state and local agencies. The members play a leading role in aerospace education and serve as mentors to more than 23,000 young people currently participating in CAP cadet programs. CAP has been performing missions for America for 70 years.”

The Boca Raton Composite Squadron meets on Tuesday evenings from 6:30 to 9 at the Civil Air Patrol building at Boca Raton Airport. For more information call or email Squadron Commander 1st Lt. Douglas Macdonald at (561)-251-7935 or dbmac1@msn.com. Check out Civil Air Patrol websites: www.gocivilairpatrol.com; www.flwg.us; www.group6cap.org; www.capboca.org

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