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How a Small-Town Kid Can Soar September 3, 2009

Posted by Wapello Warbler in Louisa County, Small Town Life.
Tags: , , ,

Imagine gazing out over the fields and rivers from a perch high in the sky, unhampered by tiny windows, and without the drone of engines. Three Louisa County youth had the chance to turn imagination into reality this past Saturday when they had their first rides in a glider operated by the Iowa wing of the Civil Air Patrol.

Glider in Flight

CAP Glider

The Civil Air Patrol is a civilian auxiliary of the United States Air Force that is tasked with emergency services, cadet programs, and aviation education. Every time a kid earns a new stripe in the cadet program they get a ride in a small plane or a glider. But it’s more than a reward: for many, it’s a step toward learning to fly.

Saturday at the Muscatine airport, they began with a brief introduction to glider flight. Then, one by one, they were strapped into the front seat of a glider. Some were nervous, most excited.

Tim Gets Ready

Cadet Sargent Hinkle

A glider has no engine, so another plane has to tow it into the air. Although the glider is being dragged through the air, its pilot still has to fly it. Jumping a wake may be fun on skis, but it could be dangerous in the air.

When they reach the right altitude, the pilot pulls a lever and drops the glider’s end of the tow rope. Suddenly, the glider and its passengers are free and flying just below the clouds.

The glider rides air currents just like a large bird. The pilot watches for forming clouds or other signs of rising air that can take the glider higher. To make that easier, the aircraft has a clear canopy that provides a view beyond anything you’ve imagined. On a good day, a skilled pilot can stay in the air for hours.

As the flight draws to an end, the pilot has to save just enough altitude and momentum to put the glider back on the runway. The CAP pilot made it look easy, but it’s not.

The cadets’ rides were only a half-hour long. Just enough to give them a taste, pump them up, and leave them wanting more. The cadets’ commander remarked you could tell who had flown and who hadn’t by the excitement and animated chatter of those who had had their chance to soar.

To find out more about the Civil Air Patrol or its cadet program, click here. The Burlington Composite Squadron has several cadets from Louisa County; to join them, start by clicking here.

Any questions? Click here.



1. Kent - September 3, 2009

Nice. Wish I could have participated as a kid. Glad our kids can use the services of Burlington and Muscatine.

Wapello Warbler - September 3, 2009

@Kent: Thanks for commenting. It was remarkable that although this was a joint activity of the Cedar Rapids and Burlington squadrons, the majority of the cadets present were from Louisa County.

2. Ed Bayne - September 11, 2010

What a great experience for the cadets.

Ger Brouwer - September 7, 2013

Ed, this is Ger from The Netherlands. I try to get in contact for a long time, but all in vain. Is it possible to answer this message?

Wapello Warbler - September 27, 2013

Ger, it has been quite awhile since I checked on this blog. I’ll pass your address on to Ed.

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