Flight Academy in Shawnee inspires airborne dreams for youth
The Civil Air Patrol’s Oklahoma Wing will host more than 20 students from around the country, including Hawaii, for its Powered Flight Academy this week in Shawnee, announced Col. David Roberts, the Oklahoma wing commander. The event is part of a network of CAP National Flight Academies aimed at inspiring teens age 16-years and older to obtain their aviation private pilot certificate.
The academies, part of CAP’s overarching mission of aerospace education, help cadets get their foot in the aviation door. Some, like the Shawnee academy, have been training cadets for decades. National Headquarters and donors help fund academy programs across the country to reduce costs for cadets and their families.
Civil Air Patrol was founded Dec. 1 1941, by a group of aviation enthusiasts and private pilots who wanted to donate their time and aircraft to protect the nation’s coastlines during World War II and to perform other critical civil defense missions.
Cadets were set to begin flying on Monday, June 21, and graduates will receive their event “wings” upon graduation on June 29, 2021.
The origins of the Civil Air Patrol story began in 1936, when Gill Robb Wilson, World War I aviator and New Jersey director of aeronautics, returned from Germany convinced of impending war. Wilson envisioned mobilizing America’s civilian aviators for national defense. The proposal for a Civil Air Patrol was approved by Commerce, Navy, and War departments and CAP national headquarters opened its doors Dec. 1. In January 1942, U-boats started attacking the shipping lanes along our east coast. By June, enemy attacks destroyed nearly 400 merchant vessels and oil tankers off the U.S. Atlantic coastline, often within sight of our shores. Civil Air Patrol was called into action by a short-handed military. With privately owned airplanes armed with light bombs, civilian volunteers became the eyes of the home skies, flying a total of 244,600 hours patrolling and safeguarding America's coastline, aiding the safe movement of war material to the battlefields of Europe and the Pacific. Today’s Civil Air Patrol may look different, but its core remains the same. It continues to support America’s communities with emergency response, diverse aviation and ground services, youth development and promotion of air, space and cyber power.
To learn more about Oklahoma Wing, visit okwg.cap.gov.
About Civil Air Patrol
Now celebrating its 80th year, Civil Air Patrol is the official auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force and as such is a member of its Total Force. In its auxiliary role, CAP operates a fleet of 560 single-engine Cessna aircraft and more than 2,000 small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (sUAS) and performs about 90% of all search and rescue operations within the contiguous United States as tasked by the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center. Often using innovative cellphone forensics and radar analysis software, CAP was credited by the AFRCC with saving 130 lives during the past fiscal year. CAP’s 60,000 members also perform homeland security, disaster relief and drug interdiction missions at the request of federal, state and local agencies. As a nonprofit organization, CAP plays a leading role in aerospace education using national academic standards-based STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education. Members also serve as mentors to 24,000 young people participating in CAP’s Cadet Programs.