Young cadets learn how to fly in Old Town

OLD TOWN, Maine (WABI) - Some young pilots took to the sky over Old Town Friday.

Civil Air Patrol cadets ages 16 to 20 have been hard at work this week at Dewitt Airfield learning what it takes to be a pilot.

"It's basically building the next generation of aviators."

Daniel LeClair is the deputy director of the Civil Air Patrol at the National Flight Academy. For the past week he's seen young cadets learn how to fly.

"They have spent ten hours learning how to fly which is really an unprecedented amount of time."

LeClair says usually it take 20 to 30 but the course here is so immersive they pick up the skills they need fast.

"I can't even put it in words. It's so astonishing."

16-year-Old George Grindle is a cadet major in the program. The Orono High School student can now say he's flown a plane.

"It all starts with you. If you have the passion to do it, you can find a way."

George's inspiration: his uncle, a pilot for Jet Blue.

"When I was in the Civil Air Patrol 30 years ago we didn't have this program and I wasn't really aware as to how much effort and resource have gone into it. When I showed up today I was a little flabbergasted to find there's ten civil air patrol aircraft, there's 18 kids participating and the number of instructors that are donating their time."

Time to students hoping to make a career in the aviation industry. Like Zoe Stefani.

"Well, my grandfather was a pilot and I just really love aviation."

She came all the way from Los Angles, California for the program.

"It's just such a great time to come together and learn about aviation."

And see fellow students take their first solo flight.

"We have pilots that are flying for the airlines that have started here. We've had astronauts come through the program, we've had military pilots and we've had just good citizens that have come through here that now have an appreciation for aviation that they never would have gotten anywhere else," said LeClair.