Air Force investing in future pilots through Civil Air Patrol program

The U.S. Air Force is hoping to create more interest in science, technology and flight.

Through an investment in the Civil Air Patrol, the Air Force will sponsor 40 cadets each year to earn their private pilot’s certificates. The “Cadet Wings” program is one way the Air Force is trying to address a pilot shortage it expects to see in the coming years.

La Crosse’s branch of the Civil Air Patrol says this new program offers faster training for those planning on joining the Air Force.

“Two of our former cadets are in Air Force pilot training school right now. One of them started immediately upon arrival at training school because he already showed up with his private pilot’s license, which he had earned through the Civil Air Patrol. The other one didn’t earn his private pilot’s license, so he’s going to go do a 6 week course in Colorado basically to earn his private pilot’s license,” said La Crosse Civil Air Patrol Squadron Commander Todd Mandel.

The Civil Air Patrol says they are in need of instructors as well. Pilots with a Certified Flight Instructor certificate, or working towards one, are eligible for those roles,