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Abbotsford cadets participate in flying program

Tim Keis and Natasha Snelgrove were on Vancouver Island as part of the Yellow Wings Youth Leadership Program.
Natash Snelgrove of Abbotsford was among cadets who flew in the Harry Hannah Boeing PT-27 Stearman.

This week, air cadets from the 861 Silverfox squadron in Abbotsford flew in a restored Second World War training aircraft at the Victoria Flying Club in north Saanich, B.C.

The cadets flew in the Harry Hannah Boeing PT-27 Stearman as part of the Raytheon Canada Yellow Wings Youth Leadership Program.

"This experience was something I will never forget," said Tim Keis (in photo below) of his flight.

"While at the controls of the Stearman, I felt I was part of history, actively pursuing a greater knowledge of it."

Keis is currently taking part in the power pilot scholarship in Victoria and will be attending Trinity Western University to study communications with a concentration in aviation.

Natasha Snelgrove, also of Abbotsford, said flying in the Stearman was a "once in a lifetime opportunity."

"Never having experienced flying in an open cockpit with a radial engine … it is definitely one I will not forget," she said.

After graduating from high school, Snelgrove plans to work toward her helicopter licence and perhaps serve in the Canadian Forces as a pilot.

Over the course of the five-day leadership program, 50 air cadets will strap into the cockpit and go flying in the Stearman.

The program uses vintage training aircraft – collectively known as Yellow Wings – as a teaching tool to highlight Canada's rich aviation history and the tangible benefits of pursing a career in science, technology, engineering and math.

More than 500 cadets from across Canada will fly in Yellow Wings aircraft this summer.