Challenging course opens doors for air-bound cadets

Jill Fowler
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DEBERT - There aren't many 16-year-olds who are able to say they can fly planes.
But for 45 cadets from across the country that is exactly what they want to do.
"I just want to be able to fly planes," said Joeb Burns, one of the cadets enrolled in the Glider Pilot Scholarship Program at the Debert Airport this summer. "That's why I'm here. And my father too, he went through the cadet program so that's really what interested me."
Along with the rest of his flight team, Burns has spent the summer receiving both ground and flying instruction in areas such as principles of flight, soaring, meteorology, navigation and much more.
"One of the biggest things we learn is team work," explained the Saint John, N.B. resident.
"When you're out here you have to be
able to verbalize and communicate with your team at all times. When you're on a glider pushing you have to be able to listen, but also give commands."
When Burns returns home he hopes to be able to continue his participation in the Air Cadets glider program as a familiarization pilot, who is able to take fellow cadets up in the glider for their first flight.
"I think that would just be really cool," he added.
The 16-year-old follows a strict schedule while enrolled in the program.
"They make sure we get our seven hours of sleep at night and are fed properly every meal," he explained. "The program is really well organized and really well run."
For Cory Chisholm, the glider pilot program is just the first step towards a commercial pilot's license.
"It's what I want to do when I'm older," said the 16-year-old Trenton resident. "And this is just a great way to do it."
For Chisholm, the best part of the program is the feeling he gets from flying.
"I don't know how to describe it, it's just really fun, and really exciting," he added.
Although the course is challenging at times, Chisholm wouldn't change a thing about it.
"Yeah, it's tough, but it's really fun," he said.
Josh Norman, a flight deputy commander at the facility, absolutely loves the
program.
"It's very demanding for the cadets, they are coming here, studying twice as long as they would ever study during the summer, and pushing gliders, running to help crew. Even inside the glider it's very physically demanding. It takes a lot of out of these people but they just get so much in return," he explained.
Norman sees first hand just how rewarding the program can be.
"They come back year after year, some as (familiarization) pilots and some as instructors," he explained. "Some end up with careers in aviation while others just enjoy the sport of flying."

jfowler@trurodaily.com

Organizations: Debert Airport

Geographic location: DEBERT, Saint John, Trenton

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