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Amador student Giulia Telli was accepts into NorCal Cadet Flight Training. (Photo - Joseph Spears)

Eight cadets with the Civil Air Patrol’s Tri-Valley Composite Squadron, stationed at the Livermore Municipal Airport, received hour-long orientation flights last week aboard a Cessna 172.

The cadets, all area teenagers, worked with experienced pilots during takeoff but were allowed to handle the controls alone once the aircraft was aloft, learning about navigation, weather, aircraft instruments, and flight maneuvers.

The day began with the cadets helping pre-flight their aircraft.

Each flight out of Livermore climbed to 3,000 feet before heading southwest. The four-seat Cessna landed at either Tracy or Byron, when another cadet would move into the co-pilot’s seat for the flight back.

“That was pretty cool,” said Akaash Babu, a CAP cadet who attends The Quarry School in Dublin.

The CAP cadet program is open to youths from 12 to 18.

“One of the most important activities that we do with cadets in Civil Air Patrol is to take them on these orientation rides,” said Joe Spears, a software engineer at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and aerospace education coordinator for the Civil Air Patrol in the Bay Area. “

It was especially important to our cadets to be able to participate in this activity since COVID-19 has kept us from having in-person activities for nearly a year,” Spears said. “Getting our cadets in the air is one of our squadron’s highest priorities right now.”

In addition to Babu, cadets involved in the orientation flights were Yusuf Choudhry, Joshua Gohres, Will Hodges-Praske, Sriya Katreddi, Scott Paterson, Samantha Wang, and Robert Watson.

Pilots Keith Breton and Alex Arnoldy volunteered their time.