Glider course cadet Ian McKellar takes his turn as the tow plane signal on the glider field at Comox Cadet Flying Training Centre. - Credit: Captain Angela Sargent Unit Public Affairs Officeer, Comox Cadet Flying Training Centre, Cadets Canada. ©2017 DND-MND Canada

Learning to fly

Kelowna resident Ian McKellar is taking a gliding course in Comox this summer

Ian McKellar wants to take to the skies.

The Kelowna youth is training to be a glider pilot this summer at the Comox Cadet Flying Training Centre.

Cadet McKellar, 16, is a member of 243 Ogopogo Royal Canadian Air Cadet Squadron in Kelowna and wanted to fly before he joined cadets.

He spent the afternoon rotating through the safety jobs needed on the ground after taking a significant flight. He carried out his first air tow last week, where a small aircraft tows the glider into the sky on a tow rope to launch it.

“It felt good,” he said. “But it is trickier than it looks and I felt very nervous. Then you get up there and the rope is released and everything goes really quiet. You are just floating”

McKellar may have joined for the flying but he stayed for the training. After seeing an officer playing bagpipes at a mess dinner, he spent two summers learning to play the pipes before last summer when he trained to become a survival instructor.

When explaining his position he showed the sign on which 25 is written in large letters. “When the tow plane is ready to take off, I hold up the sign so the pilot knows to climb to 2,500 feet before releasing the tow rope,” he said.

More than 3,400 Sea, Army and Air Cadets are participating in summer training activities across B.C. this summer. Other cadets have had the opportunity to travel across the country and even overseas. Find out more about the cadet program through the website or follow on Twitter @BC_Cadets.