Mapleton’s Air Force JROTC program returned to the skies on Saturday, Oct. 15, for the first time in a few years. Nine cadets flew out of the Erie Municipal Tri-County Airport with pilots from the nonprofit Young Eagles, which fosters an interest in flying by providing free flights to young people, ages 8-17.
Each flight in the single-engine aircraft lasted more than 20 minutes, and when pilots reached a certain altitude, they briefly handed over control to the cadets. This was the first time since before the pandemic that Mapleton’s cadets had flown with the Young Eagles and, for some, it was the first time they had been in the air, at all.
Lt. Col. William Arrington, Mapleton's Air Force JROTC Senior Aerospace Science Instructor, said the experience was an example of a curriculum in action trip. He doesn’t teach his cadets flight mechanics every day, but this supports his lessons, and he feels exposing his students to flying is an important part of what his program should do.
“Every one of them loved it and I want to give them all educational experiences that they might not get in any other class or program, and we have a lot more coming,” he said.