Camden Military Academy hosts a Civil Air Patrol Flight Academy

By: Casey Robinson on Jul 3, 2019 | Categories: General

Flight Academy 3

The skies over Camden have been a little busier than usual this week due to the Colonel Roland Butler Flight Academy being hosted by Camden Military Academy and the historic Woodward Field in Camden.

The flight academy is for cadets sponsored by Civil Air Patrol Mid-Atlantic Region under the auspices of National Headquarters. The Mid-Atlantic Region encompasses seven wings; Delaware, Maryland, National Capital, Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina.

This is the 23rd year of this flight school. However, for the last 22 years this event was held in Fort Pickett, Virginia. Due to space constraints at Fort Pickett, the flight school began looking for a new venue.

Lt Col Mark Bailey, CAP, who serves as director of operations for CAP’s South Carolina Wing, has been closely involved with this training event for the past 21 years, and is the current flight school director. He states, "Camden Military Academy, the airport authority, county and the City of Camden were eager to host the event once they found out we were in need.” Capt Nick Paramore, CAP, who also teaches at CMA, introduced the idea to Camden Military and was instrumental in making Camden a host site for the flight school.

Twenty-four cadets from around the country are attending this year’s flight school. Most are from the Southeastern region of the U.S.; however, there are a few cadets from outside the region with one being from Colorado. These cadets were chosen from a pool of hundreds of applicants. Each CAP cadet in the flight academy will receive 10 hours of flight time learning the basics of flying a Cessna 172 aircraft, 25 hours of ground instruction, and the opportunity to fly as an observer while other cadets receive instruction. Cadets are hoping to achieve the goal of a solo flight at the conclusion of the academy. The flight academy is housing approximately 14 Cessna aircrafts at Woodward field.

According to Lt Col Bailey, the students attending this year have a variety of interests. “This year’s cadets are a mixed group. Of course, some hope to join the military in aviation but others have aspirations of being air traffic controllers, mechanics or pilot civilian aircrafts.

One of Camden Military Academy’s cadets from the school’s squadron was actually chosen to attend the flight academy, Landon Stillitano. Cadet Stillitano says, “the flight school has been a lot of fun and the instructors are very good and thorough.” Stillitano does admit to being a little nervous when he first started flying powered aircraft but that “it soon became second nature and it becomes pretty automatic.”

As far as the future of the flight academy, Bailey hopes to return to Camden next year. The entire event has been “massively positive”, according to Bailey. Bailey wishes to especially thank Camden Military Academy because “if the academy had not agreed to allow us to use their facilities, the academy would not have happened here and honestly, probably would not have happened at all.”

The headmaster of Camden Military Academy, Col. Eric Boland says “when we were approached to host the Flight Academy cadets on our campus, we were eager to lend our facilities. This is a great event for Camden, Kershaw County as well as Camden Military Academy. We hope to continue our partnership with CAP for years to come.”

The flight academy began on June 29 and runs until Sunday, July 7.