Allen County Teen Earns Solo Flight Wings at Civil Air Patrol Glider Academy

Janet Martin

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Cadet 2nd Lt. Parker Lewis in glider cockpitSoutheast Glider Academy Staff

BOWLING GREEN, KY–Civil Air Patrol Cadet 2nd Lieutenant Parker Lewis, a rising homeschooled 10th grader from Allen County completed his 1st solo glider flight last week at the Southeast Region Glider Flight Academy in Tullahoma, TN.

In this his 2nd year at the Southeast Region Glider Academy, Cadet Lewis was 1 of only 14 CAP cadets from across the country selected to participate. The 15-year-old Cadet Lewis flew 16 times and was 1 of 5 cadets at the activity to earn his solo wings. Lewis says, “Soloing is a feeling of great accomplishment.” One of Lewis’s highlights of the week was getting a bucket of cold water poured on his head, a tradition for cadets returning from their first solo flights.

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Lewis celebrates his 1st solo glider flightSoutheast Glider Academy Staff

Glider Academy participants must be members of CAP, at least 14 years old, have completed a CAP Encampment, and have their student pilot’s license as some of the prerequisites for the course. During the academy, students receive formal classroom instruction on the principles of flight, ground school, flight simulators, and hands-on instruction in a glider.

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C/2 Lt. prepares for takeoffSoutheast Glider Academy Staff

Major Andrew Miller, Cadet Lewis’s commanding officer in the Civil Air Patrol Southern Kentucky Squadron in Bowling Green says, “I am very proud of 2nd Lt Lewis’s achievement and the dedication he shows to complete any goal he sets for himself.”

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C/2 Lt. Parker Lewis and the White Hornet Glider CrewSoutheast Glider Academy Staff

Now that 2nd Lt Lewis has soloed in a glider, he cannot return to a National CAP Glider Flight Academy, so next summer he plans to go to a National Powered Flight Academy. Cadet Lewi’s mom Valerie Lewis says, “Civil Air Patrol is a great way to fund your flight instruction. Private flight instruction is expensive and is cost-prohibitive for many families. There are ways to become a pilot for free or at a significantly reduced cost through CAP.”

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C/2 Lt. and his glider "White Hornet"Southeast Glider Academy Staff

Understandably, 2nd Lt Lewis’s parents are incredibly proud of their son’s accomplishments. His mother says, “Parker has known since his first Young Eagles flight at 10 years old that he wants to be a career pilot. It is amazing to see him actively working to achieve that goal.”

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C/2 Lt. Lewis flying his gliderSoutheast Glider Academy Staff

Civil Air Patrol offered 9 glider, 11 powered, and 1 balloon academy across the nation in 2022, which fulfill 2 of CAP’s 3 missions: Aerospace Education, Cadet Programs, and Emergency Services.

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A glider and its tow plane in flightSoutheast Glider Academy Staff

CAP’s Southern Kentucky Cadet Squadron serves Warren and surrounding counties and welcomes new cadet and adult members ages 12 and up and charitable donations to assist with their mission of supporting America’s communities with emergency response, diverse aviation and ground services, youth development and promotion of air, space and cyber power through aerospace education.

For more information about the CAP Southern Kentucky Cadet Squadron, contact Major Andrew Miller, amiller@kywg.cap.gov 850-200-5065.

Established in 1941, Civil Air Patrol is the longtime auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force and as such is a valued member of its Total Force. In its auxiliary role, CAP operates a fleet of 560 single-engine aircraft and 1,550 small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (sUAS). It performs about 90% of continental U.S. inland search and rescue missions as tasked by the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center and is credited by the AFRCC with saving an average of 82 lives annually. CAP’s 66,000 members also perform homeland security, disaster relief and drug interdiction missions at the request of federal, state and local agencies. Operating as a nonprofit organization, CAP also plays a leading role in STEM/aerospace education, and its members serve as mentors to 28,000 young people participating in CAP’s Cadet Programs. Visit www.CAP.News or www.GoCivilAirPatrol.com for more information.

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A graduate of Western Kentucky University with a bachelors in English and Masters in Education, Martin has been teaching English, Speech, Debate, & Theater for over 26 years. She writes news articles for local programs she is passionate about.

Bowling Green, KY
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