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CAP cadets learn about Air Force pilot training

  • Published
  • By 1st Lt. Matthew Herten
  • 48th Flying Training Squadron
Civil Air Patrol cadets from across the country traveled to Columbus Air Force Base, Mississippi, June 22-26 to participate in the 2015 Specialized Undergraduate Pilot Training Familiarization Course.

The course, held here annually, exposes the cadets to Air Force flight training.

Offering a head start to aspiring military aviators, this one-week, academically-intense course is designed to give CAP cadets an introduction to flying. They will learn side-by-side with Air Force student pilots and receive a behind-the-scenes tour of the base's facilities; including the air traffic control tower, aerospace physiology and base operations.

The cadets were given a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to learn, study and excel in an environment similar to that of real pilot training. They will learn and master T-6 boldface and operational limitations, receive instruction on various systems of the T-6 and study the same syllabus used to guide the pilot training pipeline. In addition, their off time will be spent chair-flying a takeoff and landing in preparation for their simulator event at the end of the program.

By the end of the week, cadets will be evaluated via academic testing, simulator evaluations and teamwork performance, all of which will be factored into a rack and stack. The top performers identified through those evaluations will receive a T-1 incentive ride with the 48th Flying Training Squadron June 26 before attending a mock assignment night, where they will learn which platform they would have received at the end of their year-long journey, similar to the assignment night for SUPT students at Columbus AFB.

"At SUPTFC, we simulate 52 weeks of U.S. Air Force pilot training in one week," said Lt. Col. John Davidson, course director. "Many of our graduates have gone on to Reserve Officer Training Corps or the U.S. Air Force Academy and are now active duty Air Force pilots."

In addition to the exposure to Air Force pilot training, the cadets received briefings on Air Force ROTC, the United States Air Force Academy and various other routes available to them following graduation from high school. The program as a whole hopes to provide the information necessary to inspire these young cadets to strive for excellence and perhaps, one day, become Air Force pilot's themselves.

The familiarization course is just one of 30 National Cadet Special Activities sponsored by CAP this summer. These activities allow cadets to hone their skills in a variety of areas including search and rescue, emergency services, science, leadership fundamentals, citizenship and military courtesies. It also encourages members to explore aerospace technology and aviation careers. In 2009, more than 1,100 youth participated in CAP sponsored summer activities.

Through its cadet program, CAP builds strong citizens for the future by providing leadership training, technical education, scholarships and career education to young men and women ages 12 to 20.

Civil Air Patrol, the official auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force, is a nonprofit organization with 59,000 members nationwide. CAP, in its Air Force auxiliary role, performs 90 percent of continental U.S. inland search and rescue missions as tasked by the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center and was credited by the AFRCC with saving 72 lives in fiscal year 2009. Its volunteers also perform homeland security, disaster relief and counterdrug missions at the request of federal, state and local agencies. The members play a leading role in aerospace education and serve as mentors to the more than 24,000 young people currently participating in CAP cadet programs. CAP has been performing missions for America for more than 68 years. For more information on CAP, visit
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