Cadet Flight Sergeant (FSgt) Kaeden Seiter from 902 Nighthawk Royal Canadian Air Cadet Squadron in Summerland has qualified as a glider pilot after a summer of training at CFB Comox on Vancouver Island.
Seiter, who has been a cadet for five years, received a scholarship to learn to pilot a glider at the base, which is also the home of the Cadet Flying Training Centre.
“When I was being pushed out onto the runway to get hooked up to the tow plane, I was pretty nervous and anxious,” Seiter said. “Once we started rolling and the glider lifted off, everything changed. Everything went quiet and all the anxiety fell away.”
Gliders are towed up to specific altitudes for flights and in controlled airspace, they need permission from air traffic control before disconnecting from the tow plane.
“Once we approached the release point, I called Comox tower to request release and called ‘Glider 9 dual,’ [pilot plus instructor] at which point I realized I had to correct it by saying ‘Glider 9 solo.’ I kept looking behind me for my instructor to say something but there was no one back there.”
Seiter said the cadet program has allowed him to develop his leadership skills over the years.
“There are so many opportunities, not just flying but other areas of the program,” he said. “There is so much you can do within the program from survival, marksmanship, orienteering, geocaching, public speaking — anything you might be interested in, you can do through the program.”
Seiter has had a longstanding interest in flying and has worked to achieve a full scholarship for his glider pilot instruction.
The Power Pilot Course is a scholarship provided by the Air Cadet League and is a competitive process involving an exam, a board interview and many requirements. It is one of several scholarship courses available to cadets and one of many summer training courses attended by approximately 20,000 sea, army and air cadets across Canada this summer.
Seiter hopes to become an aircraft mechanic in Kelowna. He said his interest in that career was awakened last summer when he received a scholarship to train in aircraft maintenance.
He plans to return to the cadet program when he is able, to fly the tow planes needed to launch gliders.
“I got to fly a glider by myself and receive my glider license before I was able to drive a car by myself!” he said.
The cadet program is for youths between the ages of 12 and 18. The aim of the program are to instill in youth the attributes of leadership, citizenship, physical fitness and an interest in the air, land and sea activities of the Canadian Armed Forces.
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