CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) – Kids with an interest in aviation get to learn hands-on how planes fly with the help of the West Virginia Civil Air Patrol program.  

These young cadets embarked on a new journey this morning from thousands of feet in the air.  

“Cadets taking their first flight is just basically an introduction to the airplane and the controls inside, the parts on the outside that make it stay in the air,” Major Debbie Butler-Case said. She is the Director of Cadet Programs with the West Virginia Civil Air Patrol.

Cadets must take aerospace classes and watch videos on the moving parts of an airplane and airports prior to the orientation flight.

The program is a stepping stone for kids ages 12 to 18 years old who want to learn more about aviation.

“We need to have folks that are willing to become leaders and people that are willing to understand how to live a good life as a citizen, as a caring citizen in their communities,” Butler-Case said. “Wherever they go, whatever they do, citizenship is the backbone of our communities, and that is a very strong message in Civil Air Patrol.”

This was the cadet’s first flight, and it brought about a whole new type of excitement and adrenaline.

“Personally, the coolest part is being able to fly the plane. That’s awesome. It’s nice having kids around here from other squadrons,” Cadet Tech. Sergeant Lenon Hodge said.

Cadets even get to take control of the plane at cruising altitude, with the supervision of the civil air patrol pilot.

Haylee Broughton said her brother and her dad were part of the Cadet Program. That’s why she wanted to also become involved.

“To be safe, and I get to fly and learn how to fly,” Broughton said.  

For these Cadets, the sky is the limit. As the plane takes off, they too take off into new experiences, and maybe even a brand-new outlook on what it’s like to work in aviation.

“I think if you do something, you should do it to the best of your ability. So that’s why I’ve been trying to get as high up in ranks as I can,” Hodge said.