First Flight

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May 30, 2013 Mount Airy, MD

By 2d Lt. Sherrie Weinhold, CAP

Soaring through the air is many a young person’s dream and through the Cadet Orientation Flight (O-Flight) program of the Civil Air Patrol (CAP) five Mount Airy Squadron cadets took their dreams to the air.  These five cadets were awarded First Flight certificates by the Squadron Commander, Capt Steve Weinhold, at the May 30, 2013, squadron meeting.

Every cadets has the opportunity through the O‑Flight program to take five powered and five glider flights.  With a few exceptions, the powered flights are taken in a CAP‑owned single engine Cessna aircraft. The CAP pilots are licensed by Federal Aviation Administration and must meet additional requirements set by CAP.

“Our son Danny is anxiously awaiting his O-flight.  He will follow in the footsteps of his five older brothers in the cadet program.  It was a life‑changing experience for them that probably would have never come to fruition without the opportunities CAP provides.” Karyn Flannick mother of six young men who have enjoyed the opportunities offered in the CAP cadet program.

The CAP O-Flight program introduces youth to general aviation through a hands‑on experience in single engine air craft and gliders.  The Civil Air Patrol cadet orientation program provides an opportunity for cadets to experience the excitement of flying and the first hand experience to see if aviation is an avenue for them to pursue in their future.

The Robert Ayers Solo Flight School, another aviation program through CAP was established to reward dedicated CAP Cadets with the necessary tools to get started towards their aviation education future has given CAP cadets the opportunity to take the O-Flight experience to the next level, by learning the skills required to take their first solo flight.

“I always knew I wanted to fly, as a cadet I had the chance to see if it was a dream or if it was to be my future.” Melissa Weinhold, Cadet 1st Lt. CAP graduate and recipient of the Robert Ayers scholarship from the Solo school program.

Through the flight experiences cadets gain through the CAP aviation programs have led many cadets to become America’s aviation leaders of tomorrow.

Civil Air Patrol, the official auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force, is a nonprofit organization with 61,000 members nationwide, operating a fleet of 550 aircraft.  CAP, in its U.S. 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 is credited by the AFRCC with saving an average of 80 lives annually. Its volunteers also perform homeland security, disaster relief and drug interdiction 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 26,000 young people currently participating in the CAP cadet programs. CAP received the World Peace Prize in 2011 and has been performing missions for America for 71 years. CAP also participates in Wreaths Across America, an initiative to remember, honor and teach about the sacrifices of U.S. military veterans. Visit or for more information.

Nearly 1,600 members of CAP serve in Maryland.  Last year wing members flew 29 search and rescue missions and were credited with 13 finds saving 3 lives. Maryland Wing flew over 160 missions for the state of Maryland for a total of 2,222 hours flown.  Volunteers contributed service estimated at 4.2 million dollars. For more information contact the Maryland Wing at

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