On Cinco de Mayo, NC-143, the Johnston County Composite Squadron, and NC-301, The Apex Cadet Squadron got together for a party. This wasn’t a celebration of an unlikely victory over the French. It was instead an educational party sponsored by Trader Joes of Cary, and hosted by EAA Chapter 1114 at Cox Airfield just off Hwy 64 in Apex.
Trader Joes and Chapter 1114 had gotten together to discuss expanding on a Build-A-Plane program that Trader Joes already had underway.
Lt. Dan Moore of JNX squadron is a member of EAA 1114. When he heard there was an event upcoming at the field and that there were concerns about not having enough volunteers, he offered that the Civil Air Patrol could assist. With several former CAP members on the board at EAA 1114, the idea was readily accepted.
Lt. Stange, the wing recruitment officer, was already committed elsewhere so it was up to JNX and Apex squadrons to work together to pull off a first time event. Neither squadron personnel had worked together previously, and leadership from both squadrons had never put on an event like this for CAP. However everyone stepped up and on the day of the event, we had 18 CAP members on hand, both cadets and senior members.
Primary duties for CAP was setup, recruiting, traffic control, vehicle parking, aircraft marshaling, aircraft security, and clean up. We arrived just before 8am and stayed till approximately 2pm.
This event was a private event, held at a private airfield. The intention was to bring in kids who were interested in aviation and conduct an EAA ground school, while also introducing them to different aspects of aviation.
For the kids who completed the ground school, they received a certificate for a free airplane ride, courtesy of EAA. They also received free access to Sporty’s Learn to Fly course($199 value, free access to over 300 museums, free Academy of Model Aeronautics membership, free electronic copy of EAA’s award winning Sport Aviation magazine, reimbursement after passing the FAA’s written test ($165 value), and several other significant benefits including access to flight scholarships. These classes were offered to the CAP cadets as well, although most were too busy to attend this time.
Safety being paramount, the day started with a safety and logistics briefing conducted by both CAP and EAA personnel. This was a chance to both discuss duty assignments and for the squadron personnel to actually meet for the first time.
Fortunately EAA had already done a tremendous job arranging logistics, including full color maps of the entire facility with all critical areas marked and labeled.
With briefings over, we went to work setting up.
The EAA members were very pleased to have CAP cadets to assist and I received many requests for “a couple of cadets” during the morning. Cadets and senior members were always ready and willing to jump into any role.
With setup complete, cadets were positioned along the facility for their roles. Most were on traffic duty but several were also on the flight line assisting aircraft owners with parking.
CAP filled many roles during the day, including being the official greeter for the event, welcoming the guests and handing out needed materials to get them through the day.
CAP, as thanks for the role we played, was given the prime spot of the event for recruitment. Lt Beth Hausner, Squadron Commander of Apex cadet squadron manned the booth for the event, assisted by Lt. Carrie Henningsen also of Apex. We definitely had some future CAP cadets and senior members stop by.
The highlight of the day was the arrival of the Bandit Flight Team. The Bandits are a local formation flight team who puts on flyovers and airshows all up and down the East Coast. They are also members of EAA chapter 1114. CAPs job was to marshal the Bandits into the parking spots, and then provide security for the planes while they were on the ground.
The Bandits did several passes over the field and then landed one by one, giving a bit of an airshow in the process.
Once the Bandits were on the ground, the cadets were able to be 1/2 on duty and 1/2 off. This allowed cadets to eat and see the event, including taking the ground school if they chose. Half way through, the teams switched so everyone had an equal opportunity.
Cadets were also able to interact with Bobby Cox, a living legend in aviation, and the namesake of Cox Airfield.
Unfortunately, not everyone could be rounded up for the impromptu group picture with the Bandit Flight Team prior to departure. However many thanks to the following personnel for their hard work during this event.
Cadets Cole Contos, Jacob Byrum, Jacob McHatton, Carter Moore, William Nesbit, Alex Nesbit, Lyndsey Oetjen, and Kyle Scott
Senior members Dan Moore, David Morris, and Jason Nesbit
Jacob Morris, Tucker Murphy, Jaedon Wilkinson, and KR Ross.
Senior members Beth Hausner and Carrie Henningsen
Why take a Saturday and drag kids all over the place, volunteering and working for free? Because there is no quiet quite so enjoyable as the quiet of a sleeping car ride home. Giving back to the community. Teaching kids how to be leaders. Those are just perks.