Earning their wings

Jill Fowler
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40 cadets achieve the honour during ceremony at Debert Airport

DEBERT - Although she is barely old enough to drive a car, Holly Smith is fully capable of flying an airplane.
The 16-year-old was just one of 40 air cadets who received their glider wings during a graduation ceremony held at the Debert Airport on Friday afternoon.
And Smith isn't finished yet.
"Next I hope to get my power licence, which will allow me to fly any power plane," she said.
To do so, the Halifax resident must pass a power pilot exam in January and complete the six-week training the following summer.
"I really want to become a pilot in the military," continued Smith. "My friend is a pilot at the Moncton Flight College and he really inspired me to learn to fly."
Although the military offers many different types of pilot positions, Smith knows exactly where she wants to be.
"It might sound weird but I want to fly fighter jets," she laughed. "I usually hear jokes from my friends saying, 'Girls can't be pilots' but I guess I showed them up."
Unlike Smith, Kayla Rochon was not so confident when she first entered the glider pilot program.
"I had a fear of flying at the beginning of the summer," said Rochon, from Hillview, Nfld. "But I guess not anymore."
Although sad to leave all the friends she made this summer, Rochon will always remember 2009 as being the best summer of her life.
"It was full of new experiences and I met some really good people," she added.
Rochon also plans to try for her power licence in January, but won't be pursuing a career in aviation any time soon.
"I just want to have it for a past-time," she explained.
Captain John AuCoin, chief flying instructor for the glider program, has witnessed firsthand just how much effort each cadet has put forward.
"It's an awful lot of work," he said. "But they learn so much about teamwork, they
make friends for life and they gain such
confidence."

Organizations: Moncton Flight College, Debert Airport

Geographic location: DEBERT, Hillview

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