VALPARAISO | Area teens experienced the thrill of aviation as part of the Civil Air Patrol’s Cadet Orientation Flight Program. The Cadet Orientation Flight Program is designed to introduce youth to general aviation through hands-on orientation flights in single-engine aircraft and gliders.
Cadets, aging from 12 up to 18, are given hands-on instruction on topics such as airport operations, aircraft anatomy, flight planning, communications, navigation and basic aerodynamics. The program also introduces cadets to the science of flight using curriculum in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM).
“It was really awesome,” said Cadet Airman Adrian Melendez, of the Valparaiso Composite Squadron. “It felt like I found another world.” For many of the cadets, it was a day they were able to get their second flight or more; however, it was Melendez’ first flight in a general aviation aircraft.
The event was hosted by the Valparaiso Composite Squadron and supported by aircraft and crews from LaPorte, Indianapolis and Greenwood.
After having to reschedule the flights due to poor weather, the event was a success with cadets able to take control of the airplane during the en route phase of flight.