Mentorship comes in all sizes, shapes, and flavors. What works for one person may not be of interest to another.
For those intrigued by military service, the Civil Air Patrol’s Youth Aviation Initiative, sponsored by the U.S. Air Force, includes the Cadet Wings program.
Cadet Wings represents a substantial path forward for CAP cadets who want to fly.
Rod Rakic, an unapologetic Civil Air Patrol member and supporter, sent me an email about this program and a link to his YouTube video on the topic.
“The goal of Cadet Wings is to assist cadets in obtaining their Private Pilot Certificate, recognized by industry as the first milestone for those who have a serious desire to pursue a flying career.”
An April 2018 Military Times story states, “The Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps are each short about 25% of the fighter pilots they need in crucial areas, according to a Government Accountability Office report.”
Early this year, a Texas Cadet became the program’s first graduate.
“It gives aviation-crazy cadets who have drive and discipline the chance to get their license,” said Cadet Emma Herrington. “It’s the answer for those who cannot afford flight training but are desperate to fly.”
The application window will open Nov. 1 and extends through Jan. 15, 2020. For those cadets who are offered a Cadet Wings scholarship, the program offers four “Flight Path Methods”:
- CAP Aircraft/CAP Instructor
- Commercial FBO/Flight School
- Commercial Residential Flight School
- CAP In-Residence Flight Academy
Cadet Wings enrollees are given a maximum of six months to complete their Private Pilot Certificate training. No dilly-dally. Get the job done. I like it.
Applications are objectively scored using a mix of CAP service and academic achievement. Long story short — the more involved you are in CAP and the better your grades, the better your chances for earning a Cadet Wings invitation.
A Student Guide on the CAP website is a great synopsis of what the program is and what it takes to apply and succeed.
If you, or someone you know, is “aviation-crazy” and has “drive and discipline,” the CAP’s Cadet Wings program might just be the ticket to the cockpit of your dreams.