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Effingham Civil Air Patrol cadets take to the skies
Cadet Grant Killion gives a thumbs-up as he prepares for his first O-flight. - photo by Photo provided

SYLVANIA — Cadets with Effingham Cadet Squadron of Civil Air Patrol took to the skies recently, participating in orientation flights (O-flights) at Plantation Airpark.

Eight cadets flew for about two hours each in the Cessna 172s provided by both Savannah Composite Squadron and Brunswick Senior Squadron of Civil Air Patrol. Lt. Tom Ireland, Jack Poronsky and Capt. Lynn Bishop, all of the Savannah Composite Squadron, provided their time and expertise as trained O-flight pilots to instruct the cadets.

Cadets are afforded five orientation flights throughout their time in Civil Air Patrol, and each flight provides a different syllabus for the pilot to teach the cadet. For some cadets, this was their first O-flight; for others, their third or fourth. All cadets participated in a pre-flight activity and instruction as they were led around the plane(s) by the pilot(s) and learned how to identify any potential safety issues prior to takeoff.

The cadets participating in the O-flights included Aaron Abbs, Jackson Butler, Evan Jenkins, James Jolin, Grant Killion, Lukas Lariscy, Christopher Palmer and Dustyn Stewart. Each of the cadets handled the control of the aircraft during non-critical stages of the flight.

While cadets were not actively involved in the O-flights, they received training and were certified on the direction-finding (DF) equipment utilized by Civil Air Patrol. An emergency locator transmitter (ELT), specifically designed for training activities, was activated and hidden by officers of Effingham Cadet Squadron.

Cadets utilized the DF equipment to determine the direction and finally the location of the training ELT. This activity is one of many that comprise training to become certified as a ground team member (GTM); certification as a GTM allows cadets to participate in search and rescue activities.

Civil Air Patrol, the official auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force, is a nonprofit organization with 60,000 members nationwide, operating a fleet of 550 aircraft. CAP, in its Air Force auxiliary role, performs about 85 percent of continental U.S. inland search and rescue missions and is credited by the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center with saving an average of 70 lives annually.