COBB COUNTY, Ga. (FOX 5 Atlanta) - Part of the U.S. Air Force is helping young students in Cobb County learn to fly a plane before they can even drive a car.
The Civil Air Patrol Cadet Program wants to help get more young people interested in aviation than ever before.
The cadet program was established in 1943, and since then, thousands of cadets have gone through the program across the country. Civil Air Patrol not only teaches cadets about aviation, but they also teach cadets leadership skills and encourage science and math exploration.
"Civil Air Patrol has helped mold me from an off-the-walls middle schooler to a professional cadet," said Malachi Wright, a high school graduate heading to West Point in the fall for school.
One part of the program allows any student to take five flights in a plane with a certified instructor. All students ages 12 to 20 years old are welcome to sign up for the Academy, even if they do not plan to pursue a career with the Air Force.
The cadets can earn the chance to fly the plane themselves, some accomplishing this before they could even drive a car. The cadets say the experience in the academy is incredibly challenging and fun. Part of the Air Force's mission with this cadet program is galvanizing youth energy in aviation careers in the midst of a nationwide pilot shortage.
"We're trying to do everything we can to encourage people to take up careers in aviation," said CAP Pilot Don Hamrick. "It's a long road to get there, but we're doing what we can."
Interested in joining? The Cobb county composite squadron meets at the GA Army National Guard Armory in Kennesaw. For more information on the Civil Air Patrol, click here, For more information on the Cobb County Composite Squadron, click here.
You can also email any questions to:
The squadron is hosting an open house which will start the next cadet training cycle on July 18 at 6:30.