The Specialized Undergraduate Pilot Training Familiarization Course (SUPTFC) was held earlier this June at Laughlin Air Force Base, in Texas. Two Overlake Composite Squadron cadets, Cadet Commander Captain Kelly Walls (of Redmond), and Cadet Chief Master Sergeant Max Wienke (of Renton) participated in this incredibly unique opportunity, and were two of only four cadets chosen from Washington State to attend the training. Only thirty cadets from across the country are chosen out of nearly 25,000 applicants to participate in the weeklong flight-training course, and stayed on location at the base. The course is designed to educate cadets on what a perspective United States Air Force pilot candidate experiences in a year’s worth of training.
Within the week, cadets focus on key subjects surrounding pilot training, and shadow pilot candidates during formal pre-flight briefings, altitude chamber proficiency tests, and basic emergency flight procedures. In addition, cadets experience simulated flight training, interact with various aviation-related career fields, and visit support facilities on the base. “It was one of the most amazing experiences I’ve ever had in my life,” said C/Capt. Walls, upon returning. “I not only learned an incredible amount about flying, I met so many amazing other CAP cadets who have a similar interest in aviation. I’m never going to forget this!”
Emergency flight procedures are heavily emphasized, with cadets having to memorize them and tested on a daily basis. In simulators, cadets are then tested on their response to various emergency situations. Engine stalls and malfunctions are typical simulated failures that cadets, while in the pilot’s role, must communicate and demonstrate the correct emergency procedures to solve the issue, or proceed through the necessary steps to potentially eject from the airplane.
Flying in the actual aircraft, a T-1 Jayhawk, cadets experience a range of tactical maneuvers and strategic positioning, and fly in formation with another aircraft. Cadets also watched as T-38 Talon and T-6 Texan aircraft took off, landed, and were maintained. Mentoring by an F-16 Fighter pilot and a C-130 pilot, as well as a licensed Civil Air Patrol pilot provided a unique and diverse set of perspectives. “Having the three different pilots gave a broader and more vast field of experience for us to draw upon and learn from,” said C/CMSgt. Wienke. “It was truly incredible to have such a wide variety of aviation backgrounds there with us.”
Capt. Walls earned one of two “Distinguished Graduate” awards for the activity.
The Civil Air Patrol program is open to cadets 12 to 17 years old, and the Overlake Squadron holds meetings every Tuesday night, at the LWSD Resource Center, located in Redmond Town Center. The Squadron will be moving to another location, the National Guard facility located near Nike Neighborhood Park, following a Change of Command on Tuesday, July 3rd. Meetings for the rest of the summer will be held at the National Guard facility.
Originall posted by Ashley Walls to Bellevue Patch.