Glider Pilot Course cadet Josh Ralphs (right) with his father, tow pilot and Civilian Instructor Bruce Ralphs on the gliding field at Comox Cadet Flying Training Centre. (Captain Angela Sargent Unit Public Affairs Representitive, Comox Cadet Flying Training Centre, Cadets Canada. ©2017 DND-MND Canada)

Sidney air cadet following in family’s prop wash

Glider Pilot Course Cadet Josh Ralphs from 676 Kittyhawk Royal Canadian Air Cadet Squadron in Sidney, is working for his glider pilot licence this summer through the Cadet program.

Ralphs is a student at Comox Cadet Flying Training Centre and comes from a long line of cadet involvement with the Kittyhawk Squadron.

Ralphs, 16, has been involved with the Air Cadet program for four years. He joined the same squadron as his older brother, Nathaniel, because he always wanted to fly. Their grandfather, Jack Ralphs, was commanding officer of the Squadron and their father, Bruce, and Uncle John were cadets there 40 years ago. Jack Ralphs spent his summers working on the gliding program in Nanaimo where cadets earned their glider pilot licence and his son John flew for the program — the same program that is now in Comox.

Bruce Ralphs was at Victoria Airport one day with his two boys and they saw the recruiting sign for 676 Squadron and went to look at the cadets’ building.

“The door was open,” says Bruce. “Everything looked exactly the same as it did forty years ago. There was the parade square where I used to ride my bike on weekends when Dad was working.”

His eldest son joined the cadet squadron followed by Josh when he was old enough. Everything has gone full circle. Bruce now works as a tow plane pilot for the gliding program, just as his father did. Nathaniel, his eldest son, is now a gliding instructor and he took the opportunity to work in Debert, Nova Scotia for the cadet gliding program. He is teaching cadets to fly a glider.

Josh, Bruce’s youngest son, is now working hard to become a glider pilot and loving the experience.

“It’s neat,” he smiled. “A plane does not look as if it should fly … but it does. I love gliding up there.”

This is not the first opportunity he has had with Air Cadets, he went of a trip to Edmonton by rail with the Squadron and he has been involved with band, range, biathlon, drill team and orienteering.

Josh’s Mom is the only person who is not involved with the program this summer and stays at home in Victoria as her Husband and sons take to the skies.

More than 3,000 Sea, Army and Air Cadets are participating in summer training activities across B.C. this summer. Other cadets have had the opportunity to travel across the country and even overseas. To find out more about the Cadet Program visit www.cadets.ca.

— Submitted by Captain Angela Sargent

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