Brockville, Ontario



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Brockville air cadet aims for new heights

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After earning two sets of pilot wings and serving as the commander of the Brockville air cadets, Joel Loiselle, 18, has set his sights on even loftier goals. This fall he is off to study engineering, which he hopes will lead to a career in aviation. However, first he plans to give back to the program that helped him get there by teaching young cadets how to fly.

When Loiselle joined the Brockville squadron at age 12, he knew he wanted to get into the flying part of the program but recognized the stiff competition. Fortunately, he made all the right moves starting with his first two summer camp courses: basic training and an introduction to leadership course, both at Canadian Forces Base Trenton.

“I learned basic skills there that helped me become a leader in the squadron later on,” says Loiselle, who has led the Brockville squadron for the past year-and-a-half.

By the time of his third summer, Loiselle was able to take the introduction to aviation course – also at Trenton. This was a more academic program, where he learned about aircraft and how they work. Along with the free ground school training at the Brockville squadron, this course prepared him well for the next steps in his cadet career.

In the summer of 2009, Loiselle was selected for the elite glider pilot course. This began with an intense and fast-paced ground school, followed by a rigorous few weeks of learning to fly gliders. Loiselle graduated with 67 other cadets, receiving the much-coveted glider wings he proudly wore on his uniform. He earned his glider licence before learning to drive.

“I did a lot of academic work on the glider course,” says Loiselle. “It gave me the motivation to stay focused. You realize that you’re doing something for a reason and there’s a reward waiting for you at the end.” But that wasn’t the end of Loiselle’s flight training. He was already looking ahead to the next step.

Last summer, Loiselle received the ultimate prize for an air cadet: the even more competitive power pilot scholarship. He was sent to the Diamond Flight Centre in London, Ont. for more ground school followed by training in the air before graduating with a second set of wings. He now holds a private pilot’s license – an expensive accomplishment for most people but one that he was able to earn for free through cadets.

Loiselle’s aviation accomplishments continue. On March 28, he was awarded $1,000 from the 426 Thunderbird Squadron Association for further flying training.

Not one to rest on his laurels, Loiselle has been using his talents to give back to the cadet program. Every weekend during the fall and spring flying seasons, he volunteers with the local cadet flight center. He takes younger cadets on short glider flights to give them a first-hand experience of what they learn in the classroom. This summer, Loiselle hopes to serve on the staff at the glider school and help others to earn their wings.

Loiselle’s ground school and pilot training helped with his school studies. “It gave me a reason to be interested in school. I thought this isn’t so different so I became more focused on school. Because I really wanted to learn – mainly for the wings – it helped me with study habits that I then used in school.” Loiselle’s dedicated studies have paid off, and next year he will be studying engineering at university.He hopes this will lead to a career as an aeronautical engineer or a professional pilot.

The Brockville Air Cadet Squadron is generously co-sponsored by the Mallorytown Royal Canadian Legion and 450 Sabre Wing of the Royal Canadian Air Force Association. The Association’s Mike Bowen generously donates his time to teach ground school to a group of cadets each year. Loiselle is among his many successful alumni.

The Brockville Squadron meets at the Armouries Monday evenings from 6:30-9:00 pm. Youth aged 12 to 18 are welcome to join and the there is no charge for the training, summer camps or uniforms. 

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