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Local cadet has wings to fly

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Air cadet Lukas Frykas has wings.
The 16-year-old cadet from Gilbert Plains received his glider pilot wings in Dauphin, from Maj. James Lawson, Nov. 29.
“We were a little late with getting the wings out, because some of the people didn’t earn their wings at Gimli,” Frykas explained.
“So we had to finish them up at flying sites.”
Weather was the culprit, explained Capt. Amber Lawson, public affairs officer for the Regional Cadet Support Unit (Northwest) of the Canadian Armed Forces.
“The weather came in on them. So flying in planes without engines, it’s important that we’re in the optimal conditions to ensure the cadets are safe whenever they are training,” Lawson said, noting cadets were provided an opportunity at the end of summer to complete their training at local flying sites.
Frykas completed his training in Brandon and with the wings, he is now a licensed glider pilot through the Glider Scholarship program.
Frykas plans to use his newly-acquired wings to earn his private pilot license and eventually become a commercial pilot.
“And help out the cadet program as much as I can before I leave and try to become a pilot,” he said.
The #50 Lt. Colonel Barker VC squadron has a long history with air cadets in Dauphin, he said, pointing out there was a flight school in Dauphin.
The Service Flying Training School opened in Dauphin in 1941 and the #50 Lt. Colonel Barker VC squadron was formed in 1953.
Frykas is the first pilot in a couple of years to earn his wings, Lawson said, estimating Monique Coffey earned hers at least two years ago.
It is not an easy program to get into, she added.
“It’s actually incredibly competitive and he would have been marked on his interview skills, his school grades, how he presented himself, letters of recommendation. He had to pass a Transport Canada exam and an entrance exam,” Lawson explained.
“It’s not as easy as who wants to go flying this year. It’s a challenging process and being selected as one of the top cadets in Manitoba to get their glider pilot’s license is actually an incredible honour for any cadet that’s able to achieve that.”
Frykas will go through a similar process this year, she noted, as he is looking forward to his Power Pilot scholarship for powered aircraft.
“Aviation is such an amazing career choice. They say if you love what you do, you won’t work a day in your life,” Frykas said.
“And I love planes and flying them and everything that goes with it.”
The cadet program is well-respected in Dauphin, Frykas said, noting it teaches youth leadership and citizenship, plus drill.
“And we get to go all the fun stuff, as well,” he said, listing gliding, air rifles and sports, as examples.
The local program is not limited to air cadets, Frykas said, noting cadets may also go into military or sea cadets.
“And you make friends like you make nowhere else and you get opportunities that many young Canadians will never get in their lifetime, “ Lawson added.
“Like becoming a pilot, at zero charge, at the age of 16.”

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M. A. Nyquist
REPORTER
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