LAWTON, Okla._Civil Air Patrol cadets took to the skies Saturday as part of their orientation flights at Lawton Fort Sill Regional Airport.
The organization is a federally funded non-profit that provides emergency services, aerospace education and cadet programs. The three cadets who flew the Cessna 172 airplane range in age from 12 to 14. They each spent about half an hour in the air running through a check-list and learning how to navigate while in flight. The cadets have a weekly meeting at the hangar, but they say actually getting to fly a plane is an unforgettable experience.
"It's a lot of fun and you learn a lot of stuff," said 14-year-old Nathan Haynes, a CAP cadet.
Haynes says they have been taking the plane up about 3,500 feet and then the pilot lets them take over.
"Will give it over to the cadet that is in the front seat and we will do like 360 turns and turn a certain way," said Haynes.
Cadet Greg Hoffman plans to join the Air Force. He says the most valuable thing he's learned is to keep the plane aligned with the horizon.
"Because if you are not you will just keep turning and loose altitude or gain altitude," said Hoffman.
Comanche Eagles Composite Squadron Commander Beth Ryan says the primary goal is to teach the cadets about basic aerodynamics.
"When you pull back, the houses get smaller. When you push forward, the houses get bigger. You turn this way, the plane goes that way. What makes an airplane lift? Air going over the wing. Why does it turn? How does it turn? What does the pressure of the atmosphere do," said Ryan.
The cadets also learned how to use radio communication. The Cessna 172 the cadets flew arrived on Thursday from where it is based in Norman. It is shared among the Oklahoma Civil Air Patrol squadrons.