Civil Air Patrol
  • Aircrew returing to base

Mt. Airy cadet attends new glider camp in West Virginia

September 24, 2018 — PETERSBURG, W. Va. Civil Air Patrol Cadet 1st Lt. Raegan Buzzard of Maryland Wing’s Mount Airy Composite Squadron took advantage of a new glider minicamp offered by a little-known private asset located within the heart of the Appalachian Mountains of West Virginia. The Eastern Soaring Center is owned and operated by pilot Brian Collins. Retired Col. Brian Collins, USAF, learned to fly and instruct in glider piloting at the USAF Academy.  He is a certified flight instructor in gliders, an instructor with the Soaring Society of America, and a glider check pilot examiner with Civil Air Patrol, assigned to Maryland Wing headquarters. The facility offers one of the most exciting form of glider launch; winch launch, and one of the geographically highest winch launch operations on the East Coast. For the region, it is the closest year-round operation serving Washington, D.C., Baltimore, Maryland, Northern Virginia and the surrounding mid-Atlantic region.

The glider camp is a focused program designed to accommodate groups of two or three students at a time. ESC coordinates a timetable that is convenient to the students within ESC’s year-round schedule. Starting on a Thursday morning and ending Saturday (depending on weather delays), students can expect to get 15-20 flights with a pre-solo as the goal for the first camp. The cost is significantly discounted for CAP cadets. Lodging options in the area include on-airport camping, usually free to CAP members (showers and covered pavilions are available) and numerous hotel/motels are in the area. One approved adult volunteer (or parent) is required for participants under the age of 18. This individual must accompany the participant and chaperone during non-flying periods; flight experience is not required but appreciated. For more information about ESC visit  This camp is a self-funded opportunity for anyone to secure additional glider flights above and beyond what the CAP glider program may offer.

Since the 1960s, the CAP glider program has been designed primarily for cadet participation. Recently, Maj. Gen. Mark E. Smith, CAP national commander, stated, “The glider program plays an important role in accomplishing Civil Air Patrol’s mission by offering a unique, effective and cost-efficient method of providing both orientation flying and pilot training. These attributes will only increase in importance as CAP is called upon to assist in resolving the national pilot shortage and increase youth interest in aviation careers.”  Smith’s comments were presented in the article “Why Flying Gliders Makes Safer Pilot.”

“Glider soaring gets more people involved in flying and turns out pilots with outstanding stick-and-rudder skills,” writes Murry I. Rozansky who did a thorough job of describing the benefits of becoming a glider pilot. In short, “By learning from the past, we can get more pilots in the air, especially young people flying with outstanding stick-and-rudder skills. A glider can be soloed at age 14. The importance of starting kids flying at a younger age can’t be underestimated.” The ESC “glider camp” is not an approved CAP cadet special activity, but an outside opportunity for aviation-minded youth.

Mount Airy Composite Squadron is a composite of both senior and youth programs whose members are drawn from Carroll, Frederick, Howard and Montgomery counties. The Squadron meets Wednesday nights, 7:00 – 9:00 p.m., at Izaak Walton League of America, Mt. Airy Chapter, IWLA 6642, Mt Airy, Md. Have a passion for aviation, dream of flight, are considering a career in the military? Want to serve your community and enhance your leadership skills? Join us. Youths, ages 12 to 18, parents and adults interested in the cadet or senior program are always welcome to drop in. For more information, contact Capt. Laura Smith-Velazquez, squadron commander, at or view our website at

Nearly 1,500 CAP members serve in Maryland. Last year wing members flew 13 search and rescue missions. The wing was credited with four finds. Maryland Wing flew 32 missions for the State of Maryland. Members flew 2,245 hours in all mission categories. Volunteers contributed services estimated at $4.6 million. For more information, contact the Maryland Wing at or follow the wing on Facebook at

Civil Air Patrol, the longtime all-volunteer U.S. Air Force auxiliary, is the newest member of the Air Force’s Total Force, which consists of regular Air Force, Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve, along with Air Force retired military and civilian employees. CAP, in its Total Force role, operates a fleet of 550 aircraft and performs about 90 percent of continental U.S. inland search and rescue missions as tasked by the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center and is credited by the AFRCC with saving an average of 78 lives annually. Civil Air Patrol’s 56,000 members nationwide also perform homeland security, disaster relief and drug interdiction missions at the request of federal, state and local agencies. Its members additionally play a leading role in aerospace education and serve as mentors to more than 24,000 young people currently participating in the CAP cadet program. Performing missions for America for the past 75 years, CAP received the Congressional Gold Medal in 2014 in honor of the heroic efforts of its World War II veterans. CAP also participates in Wreaths Across America, an initiative to remember, honor and teach about the sacrifices of U.S. military veterans. Visit for more information.



Photo:  Col. Brian Collins and Mount Airy Composite Squadron’s Cadet 1st Lt. Raegan Buzzard on the glider flightline in Petersburg, W. Va.

1st Lt. Mary Alvarado, CAP
Public Affairs Officer
Mount Airy Composite Squadron

© 2015 Maryland Wing. All rights reserved. | Web hosting provided by Dreamhost