Delta Flight offers cadets aviation experience, opportunities for future careers
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Imagine going to class in a single propeller aircraft at an altitude of 2,500 feet and a speed of 140 miles per hour. For technology sophomore Garret Hagemeier, sheer speed is the prime incentive of being an Air Force ROTC cadet at UH.
"I like to go fast," Hagemeier said. "How many people get to go that fast, much less control something that’s going that fast?"
UH’s Air Force ROTC Flight Orientation and Ground School Programs offer cadets the chance to explore elements of aviation while gaining hands-on experience in the air.
Under the direction of Captain Gregg Prewitt, Hagemeier and computer science sophomore Timothy Salinas got another taste of high altitudes while learning basic concepts of dead reckoning and pilotage while flying a Civil Air Patrol Cessna 182 T in the skies of Baytown and Galveston on Friday.
While teaching the cadets the rules of aviation, the program also gives cadets the invaluable opportunity to gain insight into whether a military position is right for them.
The flight orientation has served as an eye-opener for Hagemeier, whose aspirations have always been to be a part of special operations overseas and air combat.
"I’ve always wanted to be a fighter pilot, but I was very unaware of all of the rules that go into flying until I got into this program," Hagemeier said.
The training program, offered at no extra charge for the cadets, consists of four tutorial segments in which the students take part in discussions and participate in four one-hour flights.
Along with helping the would-be pilots build character and courage for leadership positions, the UH Air Force ROTC serves as a place for cadets to learn to work together in a range of activities and projects which help them build a sound work ethic and a strong tie to the community.
The core set of values the cadets live by emphasize ideals of integrity, unity. Feelings of camaraderie and brotherhood are what second-year cadet Salinas finds most fruitful about being part of Detachment 003.
"The cadets spend a lot of time together both in and outside of school," Salinas said. "I feel like we’re a family and I love the culture."
Salinas, who plans to use his computer science background and flying experience to get into the cyber warfare field, feels the program has enabled him to achieve something he didn’t think was possible before.
"If I have a choice from being on the ground or in the plane, I’ll choose being in a plane," Salinas said. "It’s like nothing else I’ve experienced before. It’s like an adventure; you never know what to expect."