Friday, July 20, 2007

Civil Air Patrol National Flight Academy

From June 23 through June 29, I attended the Civil Air Patrol National Flight Academy Encampment, in Mattoon, Illinois.

I take a week off work to go give flight instruction for the week. I got to fly one of the the USAF's Air Force Academy's old 2-33 trainers. It was in pretty good condition, but was pretty clear that it had a long lifespan of injuries and repairs. All of the repairs were nicely done, but I've never seen a 2-33 with so much empty weight (and so tail-heavy too!)

Even though I paid my own air-fare to the event (A flight with Jet Blue to Chicago O'Hare, plus a one-way rental car trip from Chicago to Champaign, IL), I enjoyed the event. They paid my room and food expenses, and I got to concentrate on teaching 8 students to fly gliders.

The amazing thing is that within 7 days of instruction, I turned several students from having never seen a glider before to being able to do all aspects of the flight without any intervention, hints or help from me.

There were 24 students at the encampment, six flight instructors, three towplanes, and 9 tow pilots. We got to borrow a nice big hangar from the CIA. Not the US Government agency, but Central Illinois Air. It was quite easy to cram all the aircraft into the hangar when a big storm came through.

The weather?! Terrible! It rained or was cloudy every day of the encampment. It was quite amazing that we actually had any flights at all. Every day was ruined by weather, and most of the students did not get a flight higher than 1200 feet until the last few days of the encampment. This was by far the worst weather that the encampment had ever suffered. All the farmers were happy for all the rain, but the pilots were miserable.

When I was in New York City earlier this year, United Airlines lost my luggage for three days. During that time, I was forced to get some short term laundry at the lcoal tourist trap. I bought some I heart NY tee shirts, some I heart NY boxers (several pairs), and a nice Borat Tee shirt saying "Sexy Time!" I wore this tee shirt one evening, (while we were all out of uniform) and the cadets, who apparently all had watched the movie many times over, all loved the tee shirt. Of course, the kids all said "Sexy Time!" (just like in the movie), every time they saw me. One of the cadets loved it so much, I gave it to him at the the end of the encampment. it was like the old Coca Cola commercial when Mean Joe Green gave the little kid his work-out towel. (yuck).

Here are the pictures from the event. [Picasa Album Page] [Slideshow]

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