NP AFJROTC cadets go flying

Two members of JROTC Mike Wister and Lorna Loughery got the opportunity to fly for the first time with Penndale teacher and pilot Captain Matt Wendell.

DOYLESTOWN- On March 9th, two JROTC cadets got the opportunity to go flying at Doylestown Municipal airport. It was the first flight for Mike Wister, a senior at North Penn and a cadet colonel in JROTC, as well as Lorna Loughery, a sophomore at North Penn and a JROTC cadet lieutenant colonel.

Wister was nervous but excited.  He was about to take his first flight in a small aircraft, a Cessna 182.

“I was eager to learn more about flying, to experiencing it rather than seeing it in a classroom,” he said.

This was also the first small airplane flight for Loughery. She was excited yet slightly more analytical in her thoughts before the flight.

“I expected it to be somewhat complicated and I expected the controls to be very sensitive.”

Both students got the opportunity to fly by being cadets in JROTC.

The Air Force will pay for one orientation flight for every Air Force JROTC cadet. Because JROTC doesn’t have any aircraft, JROTC has an agreement with the Civil Air Patrol (CAP) to provide aircraft and pilots to fly JROTC cadets. What made this flight even more unique is that the pilot was Captain Matt Wendell, a science teacher at Penndale Middle School. Captain Wendell has been flying for over 20 years and has been a member of CAP since 2003. While he has flown former students before, this was the first time he had flown JROTC cadets and former students at the same time.

Mike flew in the front seat first, while Lorna rode in the back. After a 45 minute flight, they landed at an airport near Pottstown and switched seats for the 45 minute flight back to Doylestown. During each flight, the cadets got a chance to fly the airplane while enjoying the snow covered sights of Pennsylvania. They even got to see North Penn. After landing, both Mike and Lorna were ecstatic.

Mike was beaming. “How freaking cool was that! It was great to get the opportunity to learn how to control an aircraft and get a firsthand view. A lot better experience than just talking about it.”

Lorna was all smiles.“It was one of, if not the best thing I have ever done. It was amazing to see the world from a different perspective and experience it with a teacher who I never thought I would end up flying with.”