Eight local cadets earn their wings through Flying Scholarships program

From left: WO2 Chen, WO1 Lopez-Espinosa, Flight Sergeant Menshikov, Flight Sergeant Dassanayake, WO2 Brooks, WO2 Nelson Flight Sergeant Aharony (missing WO2 Lejeune). Dassanayake and Nelson are from Stittsville, while others are from the west-end.

This summer, eight cadets from 872 Kiwanis Kanata Royal Canadian Air Cadet Squadron received the opportunity to earn their pilot licences, with little cost to them.

These cadets, aged 16 to 18, were awarded Glider (four cadets) and Power (four cadets) Flying Scholarships after a selection process which included ground school exams, interview boards, and a review of their cadet record, academic record and more.

Far left: WO2 Nelson, a member of the 872 Squadron and resident of Stittsville.

“It’s not easy getting these camps, the cadets have to work for them and not all of them are successful in getting accepted as there are a very limited number of spots,” said Sponsoring Committee Chair Mark Vermeer.  For this program each year, the selected cadets leave for their camps at the end of June and spend about seven weeks going through ground school and flight training, which culminates with them passing both a Transport Canada written exam and flight test in order to earn their licences.

“This is an incredible program. To get your pilot’s licence on your own costs well in excess of $10,000 and these teens get it basically for free. In fact, all of our cadets who go to camps, lasting between three to seven weeks, actually get paid a small amount of money for participating in the camps,” said Vermeer.  He continued by saying: “But as amazing as the flying scholarships are, there is much more to air cadets than flying and not all of our cadets are interested in getting their pilot’s licences. There are so many opportunities open to these cadets to learn skills in leadership, public speaking, survival, marksmanship, music, and so much more.”

If you have kids between the ages of 12 and 18 years old who are looking for a fun and exciting activity and you live in the west-end (Kanata, Bells Corners, Stittsville or West Carleton area) then 872 Squadron may be an amazing fit for your child. Air Cadets is a civilian organization that works in partnership with the Department of National Defence (DND) to build skills such as leadership and teamwork. Cadets are provided opportunities to learn skills in survival, effective speaking, and aviation through weekly Wednesday meetings. The cadet program also provides many optional activities during other weeknights and weekends including drill team, band, marksmanship, and rocketry. The cadet program offers glider and power fly days, survival weekends and summer camps ranging from two to seven weeks.

Registration for new recruits begins Sept. 19 at 7 pm at A.Y. Jackson Secondary School in Kanata. For more information please visit www.join872sqn.com.

Mark Vermeer is the chair of the sponsoring committee for the 872 Kiwanis Kanata Royal Canadian Air Cadet Squadron.

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