The Civil Air Patrol offers its cadets a variety of opportunities to explore aviation and Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). Within the past year alone, St. Mary’s Cadets have participated in Unmanned Aerial Systems competitions, flown dozens of flights in CAP aircraft, built and flown model rockets, and attended several activities to explore careers in the U.S. Military.
Civil Air Patrol cadets have the opportunity to fly and train in single-engine, piston driven aircraft. Every cadet is entitled to five flights in CAP aircraft. The purpose of these flights is to introduce cadets to the fundamentals of flight. Each flight is approximately an hour long, and cadets frequently have the chance to take the controls and fly the aircraft.
While these flights are not considered flight training, several opportunities are afforded to cadets to pursue their solo certificate, and eventually, their pilot’s license.
Civil Air Patrol’s model rocketry program serves as an introduction to the physics of rocketry. It begins with construction of basic water-powered rockets and concludes with the construction of rockets that can carry small payloads up to 1500 feet into the air.
Unmanned Aerial Systems
In August of 2016, St. Mary’s Cadets placed third in the first annual UAS4STEM competition in Muncie, Indiana. The team flew a Mid-Atlantic Multirotor Quadzilla and placed third in a competition that drew 12 teams from across the United States. The St. Mary’s team trained using the QuadLug multirotor, which has recently become available to all cadets as a STEM-kit.
To assist in their flight training, cadets are permitted to use flight simulators that come complete with a yoke, throttles, and rudder pedals. These simulators use Microsoft Flight Simulator X as their software and provide a realistic experience to prospective aviators and pilots, alike.