By Daniel Campbell
Questions about the future of the air cadet glider program have locals involved with the program concerned.
In an e-mail obtained by The News, Lieutenant Colonel Tony Appels, a cadet officer in the Pacific region, said the glider program has been deemed unaffordable and unsustainable by Canadian Forces leadership.
“While a final decision has not yet been made on the way ahead, the approach being aggressively pursued by NDHQ is to eliminate the ACGP in favour of a less expensive civilian run flying program,” Appels wrote.
Details on the new civilian program aren’t finalized yet, but Appels said the glider program for this summer shouldn’t be affected. He did, however, say this would probably be the last summer for the Pacific glider school.
“NDHQ staff have stated that gliding operations will cease effective 01 September of this year,” Appels wrote.
Capt. Cathie MacIntosh, a training officer with 374 Flight Lieutenant Chisholm Royal Canadian Air Cadets squadron, based in Westville, said a lot of her cadets aspire to be glider pilots.
“We send out cadets up for familiarization flights every year and they very much enjoy it,” MacIntosh said.
Although the Westville squadron hasn’t graduated any glider pilots in a number of years, MacIntosh believes the program is important for her squadron. She said because she has no further information on whether or not the program will be cut, all she can do is emphasize its worth for the kids.
“There’s nothing to comment on except how much cadets value the program.”
MacIntosh said her squadron will be heading to Debert this Saturday to take part in glider training and flights.
Defence Minister Peter Mackay's wife, Nazanin Afshin-Jam, is a graduate of the cadet glider school.