Cadet Flyers are referred to the program by social service agencies. Initially, participants are offered an introductory flight for fun. After the flight, the Above the Clouds certified flight instructor gauges the teen’s enthusiasm and interest in learning to fly, and if the teen agrees to read some simple aviation materials prior to the next meeting, he or she is invited back for their first lesson as a Cadet Flyer.
In order to participate in the program, the teen must sign a contract that requires that he/she complete reading assignments, stay drug-free, earn passing grades in school and maintain appropriate relationships with teachers, flight instructors and others. In addition, Cadet Flyers are required to spend one day volunteering to assist during a Dream Flyer’s flight day.
The Cadet Flyer meets weekly for approximately 10-15 weeks for flight lessons, culminating in an extraordinary first solo flight. Cadet Flyers earn motivational rewards (such as official Above the Clouds flight jackets and flight bags) at various accomplishment stages. In certain circumstances, the Cadet Flyer may continue on to earn his or her pilot’s license. The Program builds a bridge to employment opportunity in the aviation or other fields by utilizing partnerships with aviation-related companies, including local airlines (such as Cape Air), and by inviting certain graduates to become paid flight instructors in the Program.