Tuesday, June 24, 2014

May 2014 - Cadets Get to Fly Gliders at Byron Airport!

By 2Lt Karin Hollerbach and 2Lt Matthew Gast, photos unknown

2Lt Van Henson, Cadet O'Neil, Capt Lutz Heinrich,
Cadet Mittal, Cadet Estrada
On the 18th of May, several members of our squadron (and others) made their way to Byron airport to help with providing cadet glider O-rides. Three cadets from Squadron 36, Cadets O'Neil, Mittal and Estrada, were lucky enough to get glider rides that day.

In their CAP career, cadets are entitled to 5 power and 5 glider orientation rides (“O-rides”). Many of them are interested in aviation.  Some have been up in a Cessna, but an O-ride is usually their first experience with a glider.

Ground school before the O-rides
Cadets are put on a rotating schedule and are flown by volunteer pilots.  Maj. Bob Semans, who is in the Soaring Hall of Fame, has done quite a lot to make the glider program happen, and is heavily involved.  Glider pilots are CAP pilots, and therefore, like all CAP pilots, volunteers.  Rides are usually done on Sunday mornings.  Each ride consists of about 20 minutes of flight.  CAPP 52-7 has five syllabi for flights, including:

  • Syllabus 1 (corresponding to flight 1) – ground work, preflight, takeoff, climb out, release, very basic controls, approach, landing
  • Syllabus 2 – trim, clearing, straight and turning glides, load factor 
  • Later flights – stalls, slips, coordination, instruments, and soaring

Recently, one cadet joined the Northern California Soaring Association (NCSA) after his O-ride and began taking flight lessons - one of the strongest endorsements of the glider program.
Getting ready to head to the glider, 2Lt Eric Choate;
Cadets Estrada, Mittal and O'Neil; and 2Lt Van Henson

Setting up to be towed
Glider flights are great for illustrating concepts because it's just you and the atmosphere.  Want to illustrate coordination?  Easy in a glider, especially with our giant wings and big adverse yaw.  Glider pilot 2Lt Gast, who has flown cadets from Squadrons 10 (Palo Alto), 13 (Santa Cruz/Watsonville), 18 (Hayward), 36 (San Jose), 44 (Concord), 86 (San Francisco), and 192 (San Carlos), lets cadets handle the controls as much as possible, so they make the turns.  According to 2Lt Gast, “the sheer joy watching a cadet keep the turn going in a thermal is worth every second of the preparation to pull it off. When possible, I'll use a thermal to gain lift and keep the flight going. I have yet to have a cadet want to land.”

Since many CAP Wings do not own any gliders, there is a somewhat long-standing agreement between the Soaring Society of America (SSA) and CAP.  In areas where there is not a CAP-owned corporate glider, CAP uses SSA member clubs to provide the orientation.  In our case, NCSA is the nearest SSA club with CAP pilot members, and we are grateful for their generous support of the O-ride program.
Lt Col Juan Tinnirello ferried glider and cadets to the runway.

Thanks to
  • Flight Release Officers (FROs) Maj Chris Johnson and Capt Kathy Johnson
  • 2Lt Eric Choate, who flew 445CP to pick up Cadets O’Neil, Estrada, and Mittal from Reid-Hillview and flew them to Byron
  • Lt Col Juan Tinnirello, who towed the glider to the runway and ferried the cadets (and senior members) between the glider club house and the runway
  • 2Lt Van Henson, who took the cadets for their glider O-rides
  • Capt Lutz Heinrich, who helped with ground operations

Cadet Mittal is ready to fly!

Cadet Estrada at the controls

And they're off...

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