Staff Sections

Main Content

CAP Cadets Take to the Skies!

cadet group photo
2 of 2
North Carolina Wing cadets taking some time off from flying. Top bunk, left to right: C/Lt Ronald Smith (Elizabeth City Composite Squadron), C/CMSgt Elliot Bishai (Gastonia Composite Squadron), C/Maj Dorian Mathews (Gastonia Composite Squadron). Bottom bunk, left to right: C/Lt Col Cody Matthews (Winston Salem Composite Squadron), C/Lt Josiah Gandy (Iredell Composite Squadron), C/Lt Brent Whitley (Franklin County Composite Squadron), C/Lt Anderson Wells (Apex Cadet Squadron). Standing: C/CMSgt Michael Politoski (Randolph Composite Squadron). Photo Credit: C/TSgt Aaron Beckley, CAP (click image to view full size)
Story Tools

The Col Roland Butler Powered Flight Academy is a week of high-flying fun and adventure

8/23/2019––Twenty-four Civil Air Patrol (CAP) cadets and approximately twenty senior members converged on Camden Military Academy for intensive aviation training at the Col Roland Butler Powered Flight Academy. The event, which lasted from 30 June to 7 July 2019, brought together cadets and instructors from across the country for a fun-filled week in the skies.

A typical day at the flight academy started at 0630. By 0700 the weather briefing was presented, followed by breakfast in the dining hall. Some cadets hurried through breakfast to get out to the flight line sooner, while others lingered over breakfast to spend time with their peers. Cadets and their instructors then conducted a pre-flight inspection of their plane, calculated their estimated fuel usage for the day, and fueled up. After fueling, cadets started their engines and took to the skies. They spread out to adjacent airports so that each cadet would have plenty of room for training. After a few hours of flight, cadets returned to the Camden Airport for lunch and an afternoon of ground school. Cadets flew again each evening for another few hours. Cadets enjoyed games and entertainment before “lights out” at 2200.

Flight instruction included lessons on taxiing, takeoffs, climbing to altitude, recovering from stalls, sharp turns, circling a fixed object and landing. Most flight occurred at around 3,000 feet above mean sea level. Ground school instruction included radio communications, air traffic patterns, collision avoidance, and system malfunctions. Cadets also learned about flight scholarship opportunities.

At the end of the week, eleven cadets successfully completed a solo flight. North Carolina Wing cadets who earned their solo wings include: Brent Whitley (Franklin County Composite Squadron), Cody Matthews (Winston Salem Composite Squadron), Ronald Smith (Elizabeth City Composite Squadron), Elliot Bishai (Gastonia Composite Squadron), Josiah Gandy (Iredell Composite Squadron), and Ella Orgain (Sugar Valley Composite Squadron).

Other cadets who completed solo flights were Elias Tyson (West Virginia Wing), William Griffith (Alabama Wing), Dohwan Kim (Georgia Wing), Carter Kinkaid (Virginia Wing), and James Culp (Colorado Wing). Many others also earned their pre-solo wings for completing all the requirements of a solo flight, but with the instructor present in the plane.

On Sunday, 7 July 2019, over 50 friends and family members gathered in the chapel of the Camden Military Academy to see the flight academy cadets graduate. Each flight instructor brought up the two cadets under his or her charge throughout the week. Instructors made comments about each student’s progress and presented the graduates with a patch, a National Cadet Special Activities ribbon and a certificate. Cadets who earned solo or pre-solo wings were presented with their wings as well.
Chaplain, Lt Col Mike Strickland who oversaw refueling operations said, “In the ten years that I have been part of the Col Roland Butler Powered Flight Academy, this has been the best group of cadets I’ve seen.”