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CAP takes part in joint glider flights with Utah wing

by Gary Swift

The Nevada Wing of the Civil Air Patrol (CAP) does not yet have its own glider. But thanks to Michael and Ruthann Povinelli of the Utah Wing, four Douglas County CAP cadets and four senior members were treated to flights in a brand new ASK-21 sailplane.

Flying cadets included Technical Sergeant Nicole Scudder, a sophomore at Carson High; Airman First Class Patrick Kelly, a home-school student from South Carson Valley; Master Sergeant Sean Maxey, a senior at Douglas High; and Technical Sergeant Sean Thaler, a freshman at Pa Wa Lu Middle School.

Flying senior members included Second Lieutenant Leslie Heffernan, an employee at Mervyn’s; First Lieutenant Ellen Rosenberg, a 2nd grade teacher at C.C. Menely Elementary School; Captain Arden Heffernan, a retired dentist; and Second Lieutenant Gary B. Swift, a training instructor at Bently Nevada.

“Most CAP gliders are not nearly this fancy,” explained Michael Povinelli, who served as pilot for four of the Orientation Flights. “In fact, both of Utah’s other gliders are good old traditional Schweizer 2-33s.”

Povinelli’s wife, Ruthann, served as pilot for the other four of the flights – alternating flying duties with her husband.

She explained further. “We had to bring Utah Wing’s new sailplane to Minden for some minor touchup work, so we offered to give the local CAP folks some flights while we were here.”

It didn’t take much talking to convince the Douglas County Composite Squadron to jump at the offer. The squadron is already assigned a CAP-owned Cessna 182 airplane, which it uses mainly for search and rescue operations and cadet orientation flights.

The glider exercise provided a welcome change of pace from powered flight.

“This was a unique opportunity for us to get a taste of CAP glider operations,” said Swift. “Nevada has such great soaring conditions that I’m looking forward to doing more of this in the future.”

The cadets flew in the morning, when the air was calm and stable.

“Calm conditions really are the best for introducing new students to the fundamentals of aircraft control,” said Ruthann Povinelli, a certified flight instructor.

“Then, by the time we got to the senior members, it was early afternoon and the thermals were really booming.”

Captain Heffernan, certified flight instructor and operations officer for the Douglas squadron, explained that gliders provide a very solid foundation for flight training.

“I can’t imagine a better way for a cadet to learn the essential skills of flying,” he said. “With no engine or complex systems to worry about, you can really concentrate on the basics.”

For information on the Civil Air Patrol, contact First Lieutenant Connie Glashan at 885-8789.