CAP aerospace weekend in Philip a blast

Readying to go up into the wild blue yonder ... Commander Lee Vaughan and a cadet make sure another cadet is ready to fly in and eventually pilot a glider. A Civil Air Patrol instructor is sitting right behind the slightly nervous pilot-to-be. The aerospace weekend held in Philip on June 2-4 was a fun time and a great success.

The Civil Air Patrol’s aerospace weekend held at the Philip Airport this last weekend provided various aircraft orientation flights for each of the 40 cadets.

Under the supervision of a licensed volunteer pilot, there were 29 CAP airplane flights. The young cadet sitting up front actually did the flying to Wall. Another cadet, until then observing from the back seat, then flew the return trip to the Philip Airport.

If not in a powered airplane, the cadets orientation flight could be in a glider. There were 29 flights, where the instructor sat behind the pilot as the glider was towed to a certain altitude, released, then was piloted by the cadet eventually back to the runway.

An Experimental Aircraft Association powered glider also was present and was piloted by 10 different cadets. It can perform its own take-offs, but glides for the rest of the flight.

Sixty individually hand-crafted rockets were launched by the cadets and senior members of the South Dakota CAP program.

Though all meetings and such events by the CAP are also meant for recruitment, this event was to give the cadets hands-on experience and training in the responsibilities of CAP.

Five aircraft owned by the national Civil Air Patrol organization – three Cessna 182 Skylanes and two Cessna 172 Skyhawks – are assigned to the South Dakota Wing. The aircraft are rotated around the state as needed to support actual missions and training activities such as the aerospace weekend.

South Dakota Wing of the Civil Air Patrol is made up of about 200 adults (senior members) and about 150 youth members (cadets). All CAP leaders and instructors are civilian volunteers who contribute their time and energy to the organization.

The state Wing Headquarters is in Sioux Falls. Local chapters, known as squadrons or flights, are located in ten communities around South Dakota. Most are "Composite Squadrons," offering both the CAP Senior Program and the Cadet Program youth organization. The Philip Composite Squadron consists of 11 senior members: Lee Vaughan, Marsha Sumpter, Roberta Vaughan, Glen Jensen, Larry Schulz, Jerald Cook, Bill Sumpter, Butch Oien, Kay Jensen, Dave Hahn and Lydia Schulz. The three Philip cadets are Marcus Martinez, Tyler Dekker and Brittany Bartels.

The United States Air Force Auxiliary – the Civil Air Patrol – was founded to protect homeland security. CAP volunteers also conduct air and ground search missions for the U.S. Air Force, promote aerospace education, and operate a youth cadet program.

Members of South Dakota Wing volunteer countless hours in regular weekly meetings, state-wide training exercises, and other special activities.

The South Dakota Wing fields several experienced "ground teams" and "urban DF teams," usually with mixed senior and cadet membership. These search teams, trained in first aid, ground navigation and direction finding radio equipment, are often first on the scene of a downed aircraft or missing person search. South Dakota Wing, and its ten Squadrons across the state, are organized in a rapid response structure, ready to meet the needs of the U.S. Air Force, the State of South Dakota and local governments.

CAP cadets can participate in activities which many other young people only dream about. Some of these include:

•Eligibility to fly in CAP and military aircraft as part of prescribed activities.

•Attendance at emergency services, leadership, and flight encampments.

•Receipt of promotions in grade and stature as they learn about aerospace education, moral and command leadership; organizational duties, and other important character-building traits.

Young men and women may become Civil Air Patrol cadets upon reaching 12 years of age. Persons who are 18 years of age and older may become senior (adult) members.

Young people work through a series of 16 achievements. They earn increased grade, ribbons, and other recognition. They also become eligible for nationally sponsored special activities and may compete for academic scholarships.

Popular activities include the cadet orientation flight program, which may include flights aboard military airplanes in addition to Civil Air Patrol aircraft. Scholarships, which cover flight training through the solo qualification stage, are available to advanced cadets. Additional activities include cadet summer encampments at nearly 75 U.S. military bases and a cadet officer school.

A sought-after activity for advanced cadets is the International Air Cadet Exchange Program. Each summer, some 120 cadets and adult escorts travel to one of some 20 foreign countries, and cadets from foreign lands visit the United States as guests of Civil Air Patrol and the United States Air Force. South Dakota Wing has sent cadets to Australia, England and Turkey.