BANGOR, Maine — Eighteen cadets from across the country will partake in Maine’s National Flight Academy this summer when they arrive in Bangor this Thursday.
The cadets, who are between 15 and 19 years old, will train to be a part of the Civil Air Patrol, a nonprofit, volunteer-based auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force, said Capt. Mary J. Story, public affairs officer of the patrol’s Maine Wing. The captain said cadets will be arriving from Kentucky, Florida, Texas, Wisconsin, Colorado, Pennsylvania, Michigan and the New England states, with one cadet from Maine.
“All of these cadets want to come to Maine for some reason,” Story said, adding that it might be the state’s scenery and savory summer menus that lure the youngsters to Maine’s program.
The captain said cadets will learn how to fly in the patrol’s 10 Cessna 172s at the Old Town airport, where the Maine Wing is based. They will be given 10 hours of dual flight instruction with a certified instructor and 30 hours of ground instruction to work toward their private licenses, Story said.
Nearly 200 cadets will be training nationwide this summer at the eight national flight academies, the captain said, and all academies will give them a chance to fly solo.
Story said the patrol’s Maine Wing has 260 adult members and 125 cadets, but they are always looking for more volunteers.
“The value of the Maine Wing volunteer hours is $800,000,” the captain said, referring to the aerospace education, cadet programs and emergency services members provide as part of the Civil Air Patrol’s three missions.
The patrol’s Maine Wing aided with roughly 11 drug missions in 2010 in which members searched for suspicious fields across Maine, Story said. The Maine Wing also helped find a Maine warden who died after his plane went down in Clear Lake last year.