During the recent Grand Forks Airshow, Air Cadets from Trail, Nelson and Grand Forks had the chance to meet the Pilots and Ground Crew of 431 Air Demonstration Squadron, the Snowbirds.
The cadets who were also helping out at the airshow where able meet the ground crew before the show and the pilots after the show.
Master Corporal Russel Egler, the Deputy Crew Chief Avionics Technician for the Snowbirds showed the cadets the inside of Snowbird 5 and answered questions about the maintainers that keep the RCAF flying.
After the show, the cadets meet several of the Snowbird pilots. The cadets learned that of the current pilots in the Snowbirds, almost half earned their pilot licences with the Air Cadet program.
- Every summer approximately 50 BC Air Cadets earn their Gliders Pilots Licence and 30 Cadets earn their Power Pilots Licence. Overall, 40% of the cadets in BC attend summer training at locations throughout Canada.
- There is little or no cost for the cadets to be a member of Air Cadets and Summer Training is no cost.
- 561 Nelson Osprey Squadron is the Royal Canadian Air Cadet Squadron in Nelson BC. The squadron was formed in 1953 and has been running continuously since.
- For 64 years, the squadron has provided a low cost activity for teenagers aged 12 to 18 who reside in Nelson, Salmo, South Slocan, Balfour and areas in-between. The training the cadets receive include Leadership, Outdoor Survival, Music, Aviation and other skills.
- Advanced summer training programs such as Power and Glider Pilot License, Music, Sports and Fitness, Range, Leadership, Music and International Exchange are also available.
- Certain Cadet Training levels and advanced courses may be applied as academic credits toward high school graduation.
- The Squadron meets once per week on Wednesday evenings at the Nelson Eagles Hall (641 Baker Street).
- Air Cadets is a partnership between the Air Cadet League of Canada, a civilian organization, and the Department of Nation Defense.
- Locally, the Squadron’s sponsor is the 561 Parent Association. Their role is to provide funding and support for items not supplied by the Department of National Defence.
- Any member of the community is welcome to become a member of the local Sponsor.
- The current chair of the Sponsor is Chloe Van Horne.
Photo Caption: Master Corporal Russel Egler shows Nelson Cadet Carson Van Horne the controls during the Grand Forks Airshow. — Submitted photo