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Celebrating 75 years of Squadron 257

On February 9, 2018, Squadron 257 Parallel Ladysmith will mark its 75th year since it received its Charter from the Air Cadet League of Canada on February 9, 1943. The early days of the squadron saw our Cadets in training under the watchful eye of the Royal Canadian Air Force, who ensured that properly trained individuals were prepared for the regular wartime Air Force. The driving force behind this unit was F/O Thicke, the first Commanding Officer and a teacher at the local high school. Cadets were permitted (and at times required) to wear their uniforms to school where some of their training took place.

Over the years, the Cadet training program has evolved to one of the largest youth programs in the country. With the partnership between the Department of National Defence and the Air Cadet League of Canada, membership has grown, nationally, to around 70,000.

Locally, many of our Cadets have gone on to become pilots, RCMP Officers, Armed Forces personnel and a Mayor of Ladysmith. This Squadron is involved in many community events and is proud to assist the Ladysmith and Chemainus Royal Canadian Legions, along with many other service groups and organizations.

Ian Wyndlow was a cadet from 1979 until 1982 and earned his glider and power licences through the air cadet program. His father Keith Wyndlow also earned his power licence as a member of 257 squadron much earlier. He recalls seasonal gliding at the Nanaimo airport and summer camps provided life-long memories. Other memories he cherishes from the summer camps, other than courses on knots, the principles of flight, navigation and communication, were the friendships that developed during time-off and his first solo in a glider when he gained 2000 feet in altitude and found himself soaring with the eagles in a thermal, literally. “I had heard stories of my father flying over to Richmond to visit my mom and having to be back to the farm in Yellow Point in time to milk the cows. I was thinking of that when I circled over the farmhouse and saw my parents come out to wave as I flew my first cross-country flight from Victoria to Nanaimo, to Tofino and back in 1982.”

He recalls another highlight of being in Ladysmith Air Cadets was the shooting range in the basement of the Aggie Hall. “I kept my best target and have it somewhere in a box of memories in storage.”

With the generous support of the Canadian Department of National Defence for training Camps, Award Courses, training supplies and officers, Squadron 257 Parallel Ladysmith will continue to provide this valuable youth program for many years to come.

Special thnaks to Cathy Gilroy for photos and research.

Cadets take off with Flight Simulator

Ladysmith Air Cadets are a step closer to taking to the sky!

The Ladysmith Air Cadet Squadron No. 257 has upgraded its Computer Air Simulation Centre Flight Simulator Program. The Computer Air Simulation Center (CASC) was developed to provide Cadets with the opportunity to experience flying without having to leave the ground. It incorporates the use of a flight simulator program and flight console (control yoke and rudder pedals), with three monitors per station. The series of lessons develop the Cadet’s skills and knowledge by creating a “total flying environment” that mimics what a cadet would see if he or she were to participate in a familiarization flight!

The CASC program has been in operation in BC for a decade or more and is structured as a series of twenty lessons culminating in a “flight test.” The program is an optional program for Ladysmith Air Cadets, held on Wednesday evenings from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m., and is open to all Cadets of any rank. Adding the CASC Program to the many other great activities offered to local Cadets expands the program, ensuring that there is truly “something for everyone” at 257 Squadron!

The Cadets thank Darcy Dean for getting the program up and running, Captain Karen Peel, C.D. Commanding Officer, Mr. Rod Peel, the Royal Canadian Legion Branch No. 171 and Uforik Computers for their support for this project, says Cathy Gilroy.

Effective speaking competition

The 257 Squadron is hosting the 2018 Air Cadet League/Vancouver Island Wing Effective Speaking Competition, Feb. 18, 11:30 a.m., at the Aggie Hall.

Cadets from six Island Wing Squadron will meet to present their speeches in front of judges. The winner will then move onto the Provincial Competition held in Richmond in April. The successful candidate from this level will compete in the National Competition in Laval, Quebec, in June. The public is welcome to attend, as it is free, but please register by contacting Cathy Gilroy at ladysmithaircadets [at] yahoo [dot] ca to help us ensure adequate seating and refreshments.

Locally, the Squadron offers a six-week Effective Speaking Course open to any Cadet of any rank. The purpose of the course is to introduce and encourage youth to understand the importance of brevity of expression, effective writing skills, and tips and tricks to get over the jitters, which we all experience when faced with speaking in public.

About the author: Angie

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