The skies above are filled with endless possibilities for a young Victoria air cadet.
Kaira Pitag, a member of the 890 Pacific Royal Canadian Air Cadet Squadron, recently completed her first solo flight on July 29, a huge leap forward toward her dream of becoming a fighter pilot.
Although Pitag wasn’t sure if she would like Air Cadets when she decided to give it a try four years ago, that changed quickly.
“I became more and more intrigued about flying after hearing the stories of the senior cadets,” she said in an interview from CFB Comox. Although she admitted it felt different the first time up in the glider without an instructor, Pitag said she wasn’t nervous at all.
“I sang a song from Pitch Perfect and yelled with joy,” she said. “I felt a sense of freedom. My primary instructor Capt. (Sigmund) Sort was great, and I got a lot of support from my secondary instructor Officer Cadet (Aron) Zhang.”
The 17-year-old is one of a select group of cadets completing the Glider Pilot Scholarship Program this summer, an intense seven-week course that provides classroom training with in-the-air instruction. More than 200 cadets in B.C. are nominated from their home squadron to apply for the scholarship every year. Cadets must be 16 years old, achieve top marks in the Flying Exam and exhibit exemplary academic, leadership and citizenship skills. Successful candidates graduate with a Transport Canada Glider Pilot License. This year, 44 cadets in B.C. were accepted into the program.
Pitag has set her sights on earning a Power Pilot Scholarship when she completes Grade 12 at Spectrum Community School next year. “It may seem far fetched but I believe in aiming high,” she said.
Pitag also enjoys sports, and is a member of Spectrum’s volleyball and basketball teams. “I love to dance as well,” she added. “I’ve taken courses at Spectrum that feature dance.”
Pitag noted that there are many benefits to joining cadets, even for those not interested in pursuing a career as a pilot. “Your hard work will pay off.”
About 20,000 Air, Army and Sea Cadets between 12 and 18 years of age are attending training courses in different locations across Canada this summer.
The Cadet program aims to instill the attributes of leadership, citizenship and physical fitness in participants, as well as cultivate an interest in the land, air and sea elements of the Canadian Armed Forces.