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Air cadets can fly before they can drive

By Ross Lees
The majority of the cadets who graduated from the Central Region Gliding School last Friday can’t drive a car, but they can now fly a glider.

The Colour Party swings itself into formation during the Wings Parade at the Central Region Gliding School at Mountain View last Friday afternoon. Photo Ross Lees

The Colour Party swings itself into formation during the Wings Parade at the Central Region Gliding School at Mountain View last Friday afternoon. Photo Ross Lees

Lt.-Col. Jason Stark, the former Commanding Officer of 429 (Transport) Squadron, pointed out that irony to the parents and relatives of the graduates, adding there’s no better feeling than flying solo for the first time and especially getting that true sense of flying only available in a glider.

He used a story to put their accomplishment into perspective.

A glider pilot flying at 1,500 feet looks up and sees a Cessna pilot flying at 3,000 feet and says, “Man, I’d love to be a Cessna pilot.”

The Cessna pilot looks up and sees a King Air pilot flying at 6,000 feet and says, “Man, would I love to be flying a King Air.”

The King Air pilot looks up at an airline pilot flying at 30,000 feet and wishes he could be an airline pilot.

The airline pilot looks into space and wishes he could be astronaut Chris Hadfield. But Hadfield, who flew gliders at Mountain View in Prince Edward County, is looking way back down at that glider and saying, “I would love to be in that glider right now!”

“I know that over the past six weeks, you’ve all worked incredibly hard. You’ve demonstrated the professionalism, the commitment, dedication, skill and talent required to, as they say, ‘slip the surly bonds of earth,’ and join all your fellow pilot brethren,” Stark said.

He recalled taking the first steps along his path of aviation – a path which began at the Central Region Gliding School – and continuing along that path into the Canadian Armed Forces.

“For any of you that want to pursue that path, I can tell you I have no regrets. I have over 5,000 hours of flying experience, in the CC-130 and the C-17, I’ve been to the Arctic, the Antarctic, Asia, the Middle East, Europe, the Pacific and pretty much everywhere I ever dreamed I would want to go. All of that I’m able to do because of the wings I have on my chest,” he noted.

Lt.-Col. Stark told the audience these pilots learn there are no do-overs when flying a glider.

“When they release from that tow-plane, every decision they make is critical to ensuring that plane, that glider, goes back to the same place it took off from,” he said. “All of you have shown the decision-making required to do that or we would not have pinned those wings on your chests today. Flying a glider is careful management of altitude and speed, assessment of winds and assessment of where you are and your space,” he noted.

Sixty-one cadets were presented with their glider pilot wings after successfully completing the Transport Canada requirements for becoming a licensed glider pilot.

Top-Overall-Pilot-Aug-16Top Overall Pilot – Sgt. Matthew Lucinski, an air cadet with 44 Imperial Sarnia Royal Canadian Air Cadet Squadron, is the Top Overall Pilot for the 2013 Glider Pilot Scholarship program after earning the highest combined score for academics and flying. Reviewing Officer Lt.-Col. Jason Stark presented him with the award. Photo Ross Lees

Soaring-achievement-award-Aug-16Soaring achievement award – Officer Cadet (OCdt) Sam Harper is presented with the York Soaring Association Achievement Award in recognition for his leadership, motivation and commitment to the Cadet Gliding Program. York Soaring representative Walter Chmela presented OCdt Harper with the award

Best-gliding-instructors-Aug-16Best Gliding Instructors – Officer Cadet (OCdt) Patrick McDonnell, from Greater Toronto Gliding Centre, and Civilian Instructor (CI) Scott Kaffer from Central Ontario Gliding Centre, are recognized to be the best gliding instructors for the 2013 Glider Pilot Scholarship program as determined by the flight staff at Central Regional Gliding School (CRGS). OCdt McDonnell and CI Kaffer were presented with the Colin Moore Gliding Instructor Flying Proficiency Award for Top Instructor by CRGS’ Chief Flight Instructor, Major Rick Sensabaugh. Photo Ross Lees

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  1. Gil says:

    Congratulations to the 61 new Glider Pilots and also the staff and Instructors that made it all possible once again this year.
    Per Ardua Ad Astra.

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