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Glider Flights Background

Bexar County Senior Squadron
Cadet Glider Orientation Flights
Background & Evolution

In 2012, the only glider operations in the Texas Wing CAP were near Houston, Tx and near Ft Worth, Tx.  South-central Texas, the Valley, and West Texas had nothing at all.  There were a few Glider Pilots elsewhere in the Wing, but no gliders and no on-going operations.

In the Bexar County Senior Squadron (Tx424 in San Antonio), Maj Chuck Tetlow and Maj Dianne Wieman decided to see if something could be done to expand the glider operations to their area.  Maj Wieman was already a glider pilot and instructor, but Maj Tetlow held no glider ratings. 

Once he got started, it didn't take long.  Flying with the San Antonio Soaring Society (SASSi) at Boerne Stage Airport just NW of San Antonio - Maj Tetlow took just over a month to complete a Commercial Glider Pilot certification (although he claims to have cheated a bit by using a motorglider).  Over the next year, he flew often to achieve the minimum CAP requirement for flying Cadets of 100 glider flights.  During that same time - they worked on getting authorization to use the SASSi's assets to fly Cadets.

Their first step was to obtain approval from the soaring club, SASSi, to use their assets to fly Cadets - specifically, the club's Grob103 glider, and their tow-plane.  Of course, the club wished to minimize impact to their existing (and paying) club members - so asked that we conduct our Orientation Flights in the mornings, and finish by noon each day.  This insures their glider is available to their own club members by the afternoon, during the optimal soaring hours, when most of the club's glider pilots prefer to fly. 

The second agreement with the club was any CAP Glider Pilot also had to be a SASSi club member - so the club's insurance would cover the club's assets while flying Cadet Flights.  And the final negotiation/agreement with SASSi was the costs.  The club actually provides a slightly better price to CAP than their own members receive - about $3.00 per flight less.  Its sufficient to cover the club costs, but still give a excellent price to CAP for their Cadet Flights.

Once the agreement was in place with SASSi - we had to get approval from Texas Wing CAP and CAP National.  After many months of tracking down information and submitting documentation - we finally completed that effort and were able to start flying Cadets in the summer of 2013.  We initially started modestly, scheduling just once a month or less - since Maj Wieman was the only Glider Pilot approved as a Glider Orientation Pilot at the time.  In August 2013, Maj Tetlow was also able to complete a CAPF5 checkride and be approved to fly Cadets.

One of the side benefits to CAP, while holding the discussions with the club to use their assets - many SASSi members became interested in the idea of introducing young people to flying through Orientation Flights.  And it didn't hurt that some of the SASSI members were previously members of the Civil Air Patrol.  In the end, four SASSi members have joined CAP specifically to volunteer their time in Glider Orientation Flights - SASSi Club President JJ Romano, SASSi Club Marketing Director Steve Cima, SASSi Club Project Officer Peter Grojean, and SASSi Club Glider Instructor Randy Loveless.  So far, JJ Romano and Steve Cima have both completed their qualifications as CAP Glider Orientation Pilots - and are actively flying Cadet Flights!

Our process to integrate the club and Texas Wing CAP for billing has worked very well so far.  The club invoices our individual members for the Orientation Flights performed, but they make the invoice out to Texas Wing CAP and includes the Cadet's names/CAP ID on the invoices.  The PDF invoice is e-mailed to Texas Wing CAP by the members.  Having the Cadet names/IDs on the invoice makes it easier for Texas Wing CAP to correlate the invoice with the WMIRS sorties - and get the reimbursement back to SASSi as soon as possible.

As more SASSi members have completed their CAPF5 and Glider Orientation Pilot qualification - we've been able to schedule  Orientation Flights more frequently.  Now, as of August 2014 - we've been able to schedule Glider Orientation Flights twice a month for five months in 2014.  And while we suffered many weather delays and cancellations this past winter & spring - we are on track to easily complete 70 to 80 Cadet Glider Orientation Flights this fiscal year!

For a time after starting the Glider Orientation Flights - Tx424 mainly flew Cadets from the three local San Antonio Cadet Squadrons.  This gave us time to try different schedules/procedures, polish those procedures, and find what works or doesn't.  Then in April 2014, we started expanding the opportunity to other Squadrons.  Now in August 2014 - we've flown Cadets from Georgetown, San Marcos (twice), Corpus Christi, and are scheduled to fly Cadets from Del Rio and Sugarland. 

We hope to expand the offer of Glider Orientation Flights to all of south and west Texas.  Obviously, our early start requirement will make it difficult for remote Squadrons to participate - and we'll do everything we can to work with remote Cadet Squadrons.  But our agreement with SASSi limits our ability to start later in the day.

If any other CAP Squadrons or Glider Clubs would like to pursue the same type of program - please contact Maj Chuck Tetlow at 210-380-7604 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .  He would be glad to provide any assistance possible to help you set up a similar program and expand the opportunity of Glider Orientation Fights to more CAP Cadets.