Search-and-rescue cadets get new wings, Utah wing of Civil Air Patrol adds new Cessna

Composite image with overlay of single-engine aircraft, a Cessna 182, the newest addition to the Civil Air Patrol's Utah Wing fleet, Spanish Fork, Utah, Nov. 20, 2019 | Photo courtesy of Maj. Lance Helsten, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — The Civil Air Patrol’s Utah Wing is sporting a new single-engine Cessna that will be used to train upcoming cadets pursuing their pilot’s license.

Single-engine aircraft, a Cessna 182, is the newest addition to Civil Air Patrol’s Utah Wing fleet, Spanish Fork, Utah, Nov. 20, 2019 | Photo courtesy of Maj. Lance Helsten, St. George News

The brand-new single-engine Cessna 182 was flown by a test pilot from the plant in Kansas to Orem last month, and is now stationed at the Civil Air Patrol’s Utah Wing hangar in Spanish Fork. The aircraft was purchased with funding from the U.S. Air Force and is now the ninth aircraft in the fleet, Maj. Lance Helsten, Utah Wing Director of Operations, told St. George News.

“The aircraft go wherever they are needed,” he said, adding it will be used by a new cadet class

Civil Air Patrol’s primary functions include aerospace education, cadet programs and emergency services. It is perhaps best known for its search and rescue efforts, flying more than 85 percent of all federal inland search-and-rescue missions as well as coordinating disaster-relief operations.

The Utah Wing of the Civil Air Patrol is comprised of 13 squadrons, including one in St. George.

The need for trained pilots by both the Air Force and the Navy prompted the Utah Wing to step up to the challenge by expanding its cadet program to fill that void.

The Utah Wings cadet program is designed to introduce youth between the ages of 12 to 18 to aviation and provides aerospace education, leadership training, physical fitness and moral leadership, Helsten said, adding that they learn about the fundamentals of aviation through classroom activities, orientation flights and formal flight training.

Last year, more than half of the 64 cadets that entered the Wings program earned their pilot’s license, he said. With the expansion of the program, the equipment needs also increased to accommodate for the rise in cadet numbers. As such, the Cessna purchase was approved by the Civil Air Patrol’s headquarters located in Maxwell Air Force Base in Alabama.

The Cessna 182 comes equipped with the Garman 1000 glass flight deck that is easier to read and process for cadets training with Utah Wings cadet program | Photo courtesy of Garman, St. George News

“That increase is why Utah was approved for the Cessna,” he said.

The Cessna 182 was chosen because it is a high-performance plane capable of cruising at flight levels at 155 to 160 knots, and the durable aircraft has an excellent climb capability. Helsten said it also came equipped with the Garman 1000 flight panel, which is an all-glass avionics system that makes flight information easier to scan and process.

Additionally, all of the aircraft in the fleet, which includes nine powered aircraft and two gliders, are very similar to one another in both make and model. This is done for training purposes so cadets can adapt quickly to the aircraft they are flying in.

Civil Air Patrol 

Nearly 60,000 members strong, the Civil Air Patrol, founded in 1941, is comprised of the nation’s civilian aviation resources in 1,500 communities and operates a fleet of 560 aircraft. It performs about 90 percent of continental U.S. inland search and rescue missions as tasked by the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center and is credited with saving an average of 80 lives annually.

The members perform homeland security, disaster relief and drug interdiction missions at the request of federal, state and local agencies and plays a major role in aerospace/STEM education through its members that serve as mentors to 24,000 young people participating in the organization’s cadet program.

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2019, all rights reserved.

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