Civilian air patrol glider training
On Saturday, December 4, the Hernando County Composite Squadron of the
Civil Air Patrol (CAP) conducted glider operations and training. Glider training operations, overseen by Air Captain Boss Gary Peterson under the command of Lt. Col. Laurence Fernald of Florida Wing, CAP are part of a nationwide critical aviation link.
Created in 1941, Civil Air Patrol is the official auxiliary of the US Air Force and as such is part of its Total Force. In its auxiliary role, CAP operates a fleet of 560 Cessna single-engine aircraft, gliders and more than 2,100 small unmanned aircraft systems (sUAS) and performs approximately 90% of continental search and rescue missions within United States, as requested by Air Force Rescue Coordination. Center.
In June 1944, the United States and its allies used military gliders to land infantry, weapons, and supplies during the invasion of Normandy, France. These stealth planes allowed Allied troops to fly over and overpower Nazi forces in the historic D-Day battle that stunned Hitler’s forces. Nearly 900 gliders provided a powerful platform for U.S. and Allied forces tasked with loosening the Nazi strangulation over Europe.
Perhaps the most famous gliders in the world were the fleet of space shuttles employed by NASA from 1981 to 2011. Whether towed by powered planes or traversing the atmosphere with a crew of returning astronauts , gliders have played an important role in civil service and aviation. since the Wright brothers used gliding devices such as kites in preparation for manned flight.
According to Richard L. Johnson, public affairs officer for the Hernando County Composite Squadron, aerospace education is one of the Civil Air Patrol organization’s three main missions. âMuch like the Wright Brothers, gliders are exceptionally good at teaching people the principles of flight,â Johnson said. Saturday’s training involved placing cadets in the cockpit with a trained pilot to “gain a better understanding of the forces that affect flight, such as lift and drag.”
Saturday’s Wing Runner course is designed to teach students how to operate a glider while it is on the ground, âJohnson said. The glider has long wings for maximum lift and an inline wheelset to reduce drag. While the glider is quite nimble in flight, Johnson said wing racers need to help put the wings together and balance the craft while on the ground.
âOnce the tow plane pulls the glider, the airflow over the wings creates lift, which balances the plane. The glider is quite elegant once in the air. Until then the wing runners keep their balance, âJohnson said. “Our glider is a two-seater that allows an instructor pilot to assess a pilot being trained or re-qualified on flight operations,” he said.
It wasn’t all work and no play for the cadets on Saturday. They were able to perform orientation flights in the glider which included towing to an altitude of 3,500 feet with flights lasting 15 to 20 minutes each. Johnson said the adventurous cadets experienced sharp turns, stalls and other advanced glider flight maneuvers.
Glider pilots Captain Jonathan Salazar and senior member Nelson Brandt were the seasoned pilots on Saturday. Captain Salazar is the Group 3 search and rescue pilot and glider instructor. SM Brandt is a Group 7 glider control pilot.
The Hernando County Composite Squadron is the home base of the only civilian air patrol glider assigned to the Florida Wing. Training operations with the glider are only possible with the cooperation and support of the Brooksville-Tampa Bay Regional Airport (BKV). BKV gives the Civil Air Patrol great latitude in the conduct of air operations.
The Civil Air Patrol is always on the lookout for new members interested in flying. Cadets can join at age 12 while adults can join at any age. For more information on the Hernando County Composite Squadron and the Civilian Air Patrol, visit fl301.cap.gov.