by 2d Lt Chris Ashburn, CAP
The Civil Air Patrol’s Mustang Cadet Squadron (MCS) ushered in 2008 with a Change of Command Ceremony on January 9th that included many promotions for both Cadets and Senior members, and unveiled a new addition to the squadron that will be of service for many years to come. Over one hundred friends, family members, and CAP dignitaries joined the celebration on the Squadron’s first meeting night of this new year. Some of the honored guests included Col. Edward Phelka, Commander of the Colorado Wing and Lt. Col. William Aceves, Commander of Group I. Also in attendance were Lt. Cols. Barbara and William Gentry, Co-Directors of Cadet Programs for the Colorado Wing and founders of the Mustang Squadron.
The January 9th celebration started with 22 promotions of Mustang Cadet Squadron members. Sixteen cadets were promoted and six Senior Members. Of the 16 Cadet promotions, six were Milestone Achievements including four Mitchell Awards presented by Col. Phelka and two Wright Brothers’ Awards presented by Lt. Col. Aceves. Aceves also handed out three Special Group I Awards that evening.
A special highlight of the evening was the unveiling of Mustang’s Flight Training Device (FTD), a Flight Simulator built by hand from the ground up by their Aerospace Education Officer, Capt. Russell Grell. He estimates that over 300 hours of hard work was put in to the design and construction of the FTD, all while he is building his own aircraft at the same time.
The Flight Training Device is one-of-a-kind, fully enclosed, and built from scratch around a 1955 Cessna 170A seat (from Wentworth Aircraft). It is 7 ½ feet long, 53 inches high and 26 inches wide. These dimensions will accommodate all shapes and sizes, from the smallest Cadet to the largest Senior Member. The CPU was upgraded by the Squadron and runs Microsoft Flight Simulator™ using CH™ yokes and pedals and the visuals are on a 19 inch Viewsonic™ flat-screen monitor. All funding came from within Mustang Squadron and yearly gifts from the Colorado CAP foundation.