The Woodward News

Local News

January 23, 2014

Civil Air Patrol offers opportunities

Woodward, Okla. — The Civil Air Patrol has a lot to offer youngsters who are interested in aeronautics, the military, and having new experiences.

Just ask Connor Taylor, 16, and Harley Sample, 13, who are both cadets of the Woodward Composite Flight of the Civil Air Patrol. The Woodward Composite Flight is the local group of this civilian volunteer arm of the United States Air Force.

The News recently met with Taylor and Sample as they prepared to take their first orientation flights in a Civil Air Patrol (CAP) plane at the West Woodward Regional Airport this past weekend.

When asked why they had joined CAP, both teens said one of the big reasons was because they each have an interest in joining the military when they're older.

“Well, I want to go into the Army and military intelligence so that I can become an agent. And this (CAP) will help with that,” Sample said.

“I'm interested in joining the Air Force,” Taylor said, noting “my dad is ex-military, so it's kind of a family thing.”

Sample's father is also former military. But her involvement in the Civil Air Patrol is even more of “a family thing,” because her father, mother and older brother also all participate in the Woodward Composite Flight.

“I think it's kind of cool,” Sample said of having her whole family participating in CAP. “Because it means there are people who I know really well there, so if I have a question I can ask them.”

In addition to their family ties and an interest in one day serving their country, Taylor and Sample had other reasons for participating in the Civil Air Patrol.

“I'm also interested in doing air evacuations,” Sample said. “I think it would be cool to fly the helicopters, and sad at the same time because I feel sorry for the people who are hurt.”

For Taylor, his interest is more in the broader scope of all of aerospace and not just one type of aircraft or particular aeronautic occupation.

“I'm interested in just everything, from the way planes fly to outer space; just pretty much everything about aerospace and the science of everything,” he said.

Taylor, who currently serves as the cadet commander for the Woodward Composite Flight, said he also joined CAP because of the leadership opportunities it provides. As the cadet commander, he said he is in charge of all the cadets in the group, which currently includes around 20 students aged 12 to 18 from the Woodward area.

Sample said another reason she joined CAP was because “I wanted to try something new.”

Both she and Taylor said Saturday's orientation flight, which was in a Cessna 172 flown by CAP Lt. Rihat Gautem of Oklahoma City, was a bit of a new experience for them.

“I've only flown maybe once before and it was in a commercial airliner. This time the plane's going to be quite a bit smaller,” Taylor said.

Sample said she had ridden in a 2-seat “water plane” before. “I didn't really like it though, and this time I have some medicine to help me,” she said.

She admitted that “I'm kind of afraid of heights. But I think this (CAP) will help me to get over that.”

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