Youths take to the skies with Civil Air Patrol

Cadet Grace Fox of Clarion County receives her First Flight certificate from pilot Master Sgt. Bill Story. (Contributed photo)
From staff reports

SHIPPENVILLE – Four teens from Clarion and Jefferson counties experienced the thrill of aviation through orientation flights with the Civil Air Patrol at the Clarion County Airport.

Area youths participating in the flights included Grace Fox and Adelle Aaron, both of Clarion County, and Noah Ossmann and Logan Markle, both of Jefferson County. Throughout the morning and afternoon, the cadets received briefings and flew in one of CAP’s Cessna 172s.

“It was awesome,” said Ossmann, 16. Ossman and Fox were on their very first CAP orientation flight. The flights gave them the opportunity to handle the controls and see what flying is all about, according to CAP officials.

The hour-long flights in single-engine Cessna aircraft introduced the cadets to the science that makes flight possible. They learned about navigation, weather, aircraft instruments, flight maneuvers, and more.

The cadets’ day began by helping pre-flight their aircraft. Working with their pilot, they taxied their aircraft to the Clarion Airport’s runway, gave it full throttle and took off, climbing to 3,500 feet. While aloft, it was the cadets who were handling the controls, during the non-critical stages of the flight.

“You really have to pay attention when you’re at the controls,” said Aaron, 13, “but once you get past your initial nervousness, it’s amazing.”

Once they reached their assigned altitude, the cadets turned east and navigated toward DuBois, where they practiced flight maneuvers before returning to the Clarion Airport. Then it was another cadet’s turn to take the front right seat for another flight. The CAP pilot repeated this round-trip throughout the day.

“I’ve been flying cadets for over 12 years, and there’s nothing that compares to this experience,” said pilot CAP Master Sgt. Bill Story of Franklin.

Story volunteered his time while the Civil Air Patrol provided the aircraft and fuel at no cost to the cadets or the pilot.

The Civil Air Patrol Cadet Program is open to youths ages 12 through 18 years old. There are volunteer opportunities for adults, pilots and non-pilots alike.

More information is available by contacting Capt. Steve Aaron at (814) 229-3523 or by visiting GoCivilAirPatrol.com.