Cadets can soar to amazing heights, just ask these two

Left to right: Capt Ave Pyne, Capt Ryan Kean, Capt Cheryl Major and Capt Greg Hume-Powell all became friends in the Cadet Program.

Left to right: Capt Ave Pyne, Capt Ryan Kean, Capt Cheryl Major and Capt Greg Hume-Powell all became friends in the Cadet Program.

Capt Cheryl Major, RCSU(P) ~

There’s no expectation for air cadets to join the military when they finish the Cadet Program, but for some it’s a dream come true.

Captain Ave Pyne, Snowbird 2 and the Training Officer for 431 Squadron, knew he wanted to be a pilot since childhood.

With a father in the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF), some of his earliest memories are running through airports gazing at planes on the ramp.

He first thought about being a Snowbird in the 1990s when he visited 431 Squadron in Moose Jaw with his dad.

“Looking at the memorabilia made think about just what kind of impact the Snowbirds have on Canadians.”

Capt Pyne joined 676 Royal Canadian Air Cadet Squadron (RCACS) in Sidney, B.C., at 13 with intentions of becoming a pilot through the scholarship program.

“The person that was the biggest inspiration for me, going through the Cadet Program, was Captain Sandra Pinard (nee Dalley), who set very high standards.

Consistently trying to achieve those standards developed a very strong work ethic, as well as a high level motivation and dedication.

Without that, I wouldn’t have been able to persist towards the goals I was striving for.”

He also learned how to teach during his time with the Cadet Program, which served him well in becoming a senior instructor with the Canadian Forces Flying Training School.

“I gained my love of instruction as an air cadet. The skills I learned as a teenager are 100 percent relevant to teaching flying.”

In 1998, Capt Pyne’s first aviation dream came true when he attended the Glider Scholarship Course at 19 Wing in Comox, B.C.

“Glider was the best course I did in air cadets.

Gliding is the basics of aviation at the purest level. Getting my glider wings is a close second to getting my Canadian Forces wings in terms of pride and accomplishment.”

He continued to earn a private pilot’s license through another scholarship in 1999, and in 2001 he joined the CAF as a pilot.

His decision to pursue piloting helicopters was influenced by one of the Cadet Instructor Cadre (CIC) Officers he had met as a cadet in Comox.

“Captain Kent Neville wasn’t my flight instructor, but his leadership inspired me. He gained my respect and I’ve looked to him several times for guidance; he was the person that suggested I consider helicopters.”

As a Sea King pilot at 443 Maritime Helicopter Squadron, Capt Pyne found time to give back to the Cadet Program at 676 RCACS.

He volunteered with the band and even played during the squadron’s 50th Anniversary celebrations.

Now, as a Snowbird, he continues giving back to youth across Canada, inspiring other young pilots to strive for their dreams.

“The Snowbirds allow us to demonstrate the teamwork, professionalism, service and esprit de corps of the Canadian Forces, but we also inspire future generations to reach for their goals.

People see us do what seems impossible and it becomes possible.”

Captain Greg Hume-Powell, Snowbird 6, first dreamed of becoming a pilot at the age of five, when he saw the Snowbirds perform at the Abbotsford Airshow.

He also joined the Cadet Program, with 103 Thunderbird RCACS in North Vancouver, because of the flying opportunities.

He credits his first ground school instructor, Captain James Hollis, with making the academics of aviation fun, and for teaching him the patience to use an E6B Flight Computer, a version of which he still uses today with the Tudor.

In fact, he credits the Cadet Program and CIC Officers with giving him direction, motivation, and the skills he needed to study, prioritize, and dream.

Capt Hume-Powell’s path to becoming a Snowbird was less direct; he first joined the CAF as a CIC Officer, and spent his spare time in college, taking cadets on familiarization flights, and teaching ground school with 243 Ogopogo RCACS.

He joined the CAF as a pilot in 2003, eventually flying Sea Kings with 443 Maritime Helicopter Squadron, and then becoming a senior instructor with Canadian Forces Flying Training School. He is about to begin his first summer as a Snowbird.

“My experience as a CIC Officer definitely made me a better instructor, and having the opportunity to stay involved in the program, and be in uniform, kept me on the path towards becoming a pilot with the Canadian Forces.”

Very few CAF pilots get to wear the red flight suit; getting there is a long process of patience, failure, critical self-development and constant improvement. Both pilots agree they would not be where they are now if they had not been cadets.

The Snowbirds will spend this summer flying across North America impressing audiences with more than 50 different formations and manoeuvres during each 35-minute show.

They will perform for hundreds of thousands of people, sign thousands of autographs and even pose for the occasional selfie.

Filed Under: Top Stories

About the Author: The Lookout Newspaper can trace its history back to April 1943 when CFB Esquimalt’s first newspaper was published. Since then, Lookout has grown into the award winning source for Pacific Navy News. Leading the way towards interactive social media reach, we are a community resource newspaper growing a world wide audience.

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