Cadets learn about leadership, aerospace

News Photo by Crystal Nelson Pilot Chuck Black, with Alpena’s Experimental Aviation Association, on Saturday helps Civil Air Patrol Cadet Airman First Class Charles McEwen into his airplane near the Alpena County Regional Airport.

ALPENA — Weather prevented cadets in Alpena’s Civil Air Patrol chapter from learning about search and rescue as planned on Saturday, but the group switched gears to complete other required training.

Cadets were supposed to board a Cessna 182 airplane to learn about search and rescue from the air as part of an orientation flight, but freezing drizzle delayed the aircraft from leaving Cadillac.

Instead, cadets practiced drill technique, participated in physical training, ran a mile, and had the opportunity to go on a flight with Pilot Chuck Black, who is a member of Alpena’s Experimental Aviation Association. Alpena’s EAA chapter allows the Civil Air Patrol to utilize their hangar and clubhouse near the Alpena County Regional Airport.

The Civil Air Patrol is an auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force that helps with search and rescues, performs community service, teaches leadership skills, provides aerospace education, and introduces civilians to the military lifestyles.

The group is open to men and women. Those ages 12 to 18 are considered cadets and adults 18 and over are senior members.

Cadet Airman First Class Charles McEwan joined the group about one year ago after attending an open house. McEwan said he wants to become a pilot, and being a cadet in the Civil Air Patrol will help him earn his student pilot certificate.

Captain Heidi Mull said there are six aerospace books that McEwan can learn from. She said he will learn the components of the engine and the components of the airplane. She said he will also have access to flight simulators and other hands on activities.

“My dad said if I do work hard enough, I can get my pilot’s license before I get my drivers license,” McEwan said.

A student needs to obtain a student pilot certificate to fly solo, and must be at least 14 if they plan to pilot a glider or balloon or 16 years old to fly other types of aircraft, according to the Federal Aviation Administration website.

McEwan is one of 15 cadets in Alpena’s chapter of the Civil Air Patrol, led by Mull, who is the captain and commander of the chapter. The group also has seven senior members.

Mull said Alpena’s chapter is currently on the smaller side, after several of its cadets graduated high school and left the group.

Mull said many of the cadets are newer and are still getting used to using military terminology and procedures, such as learning how to address senior officers correctly. She said the group is also a cadet squadron, which means it is cadet led.

She said the group is currently looking for new members to join the group.

Cadet Master Sergeant Flora Patterson has been in the group for nearly three years, and said it’s a good program for those who are generally interested in aerospace and search and rescue.

Patterson said a cadet has to be interested in the drills, physical training, the military’s ranking system to enjoy being in the Civil Air Patrol.

“It’s done wonders for my ability to make coherent presentations and it’s also done wonders for my public speaking and my sense of discipline in myself,” she said. “The fact that I’m leading a group of people who truly respect me and will listen to me and understand me — it definitely helps be a better person and a better leader.”

Cadet Sergeant Jakob Hirschenberger also joined Civil Air Patrol two years ago, and said the program is “awesome.” He said the group is for anyone who is interested in aerospace, search and rescue, and community service.

Mulls said they recommend those interested in becoming cadets attend at least three meetings before they join, so they can see what the program has to offer.

Those interested in joining the program can call or text commander Mull at 989-255-7206.


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