November 25, 2013
By Jill W. Tallman
A 21-year-old flight instructor says his successful aviation path is attributable to the mentoring and training he received through the Civil Air Patrol.
“I thought I would join and see what it was all about,” said Stephen Bloemsma. “I had completed some Young Eagles flights when I was 12 or 13 that initially sparked my interest in aviation. Then after joining CAP and completing my cadet orientation flights, I knew aviation was the career field I wanted to pursue.”
CAP, the official auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force, has 61,000 members nationwide and operates a fleet of 550 aircraft that it uses for inland search-and-rescue missions. More than 26,000 young people participate in CAP cadet programs that introduce aviation through a 16-step program that includes aerospace education, leadership training, physical fitness, and moral leadership.
As a CAP cadet, Bloemsma learned to fly airplanes and gliders and soloed at age 16. He attended Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, and now flight instructs at Western North Carolina Aviation and as a mission pilot, cadet orientation pilot, and instructor at the Asheville Composite Squadron’s annual flight academy. “Going through the squadron’s first flight academy as a cadet and then being able to come back a few years later and teach it was quite the rewarding experience,” he said.
Bloemsma's career plans include flying for the airlines or a corporation once he has accumulated enough flight hours.
“CAP gave me an opportunity to fly at a young age and sparked that interest in aviation that led me to continue on in my training, and I am very grateful for that,” Bloemsma said.
AOPA Technical Editor Jill W. Tallman is an instrument-rated private pilot who owns a Piper Cherokee 140.
Search and Rescue,
Pilot Training and Certification,
As the cold weather chills AOPA’s Headquarters in Frederick, many of us are inside generating new resources for flying clubs.
In my house, every Friday night is “Movie Night.” While the movies are rarely educational (I don’t think I learned anything from the Lego Movie), we look forward to the weekly opportunity to spend time together. Why not use the same concept for your Flying Club (with the addition of education, of course)?
The Aircraft Spotlight feature looks at an airplane type and evaluates it across six areas of particular interest to flying clubs and their members: Operating Cost, Maintenance, Insurability, Training, Cross-Country, and Fun Factor.
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