Air Cadets from Nelson and Trail had the chance to go on an adventure to Calgary as part of a citizenship tour from April 21 to 24.
A citizenship tour is a chance for cadets to see things outside their region, learn new things about Canada and about different careers in the aviation world.
The cadets from Nelson and Trail don’t do things together very often, so this trip was seen as a way for the two groups to get to know each other.
“We try to get the groups working together a little more, it makes it easier on everyone,” said Major Kevin DeBiasio, squadron leader for the Nelson Air Cadets. “It helps spread the cost, it gets the cadets meeting other people in the area, and in this case it was the first time a lot of the cadets had been intermingled, so they got to meet each other, hang out with each other, and meet some new people.”
The cadets try to do something every year. Last year they went to Caumaux, to visit the West Coast Air Force Base. The cadets had the chance to see Search and Rescue helicopters, along with the Auroras, which are the marine patrol aircrafts.
In previous years cadets have also gone to Fairchild Airforce Base in Slocan, and Silverwood in Idaho.
For the trip to Calgary, the cadets visited the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT), the Nanton Bomber Command Museum, and the Calgary Air Force Museum and more.
While at SAIT the students the cadets saw students working toward their Aircraft Maintenance Licenses.
“SAIT, they do the education for the first part of the mechanic apprenticeships,” said DeBiasio. “Most apprenticeship programs, there’s an education course process and then a practical process. The students at SAIT are there for either two years or one year, depending on the program and then they go out in the field and finish their education with en employer.”
There are three types of programs done at SAIT, including one structural technicians and avionic technicians.
For some of the cadets, this was their first time visiting somewhere outside the region. Others, like Horatio Kostuck, had travelled to Calgary before.
Kostuck, from Nakusp, had a great time one the trip.
“It was really fun,” he said. “We got to see a lot of neat stuff that a lot of people wouldn’t see. We got to sleep in Nanton Bomber Command Museum, and they started up a Lancaster, it was really cool. There was also a journal from one guy who was in World War Two, and another guy asked to borrow it and he stole it, and they retrieved it. When we were there, they returned it to their family.”
While at the Nanton Bomber Command Museum the cadets had the chance to sleep in the same hangar as a Mosquito, a wooden plane from World War Two. The plane isn’t complete, there’s only the fuselage right now. Originally it was going to be shipped off to a buyer in England but Calgary residents sent out a petition to keep in the country. Now every week a group of volunteers comes to the museum to work on it.
There isn’t a set plan on what the cadets will do next year, but it’s going to be different from where they’ve gone before.
“We try to do something where the cadets are seeing something new,” concluded DeBiasio. “We also try to shake it up too, so they don’t go to the same place every year, because once you go to the same place three or four years, it’s not as exciting. If we shake it up and show the cadets different things, the ones who have been in also get to see something awesome.”