An impressive aviation event occurred on Sunday June 10th when 15-year-old Cadet Senior Master Sergeant Christine ‘Tumbleweed’ Shoemaker of Bellevue flew solo in a Civil Air Patrol (CAP) glider at Chehalis, WA.
Christine joined an elite group of cadets who have flown solo in an aircraft before they were old enough to drive solo in the family car.
Christine attended the CAP Desert Eagle Flight Encampment last summer as a basic flight student, flying non-stop during the two-week activity. She continued to train with her CAP instructors over the winter as the weather allowed until she was ready to try it alone.
She has been accepted into the advanced flight-training program this summer, which involves mostly solo flying, and leads towards an FAA license. Desert Eagle is held each summer at Ephrata, WA.
Christine earned her nickname ‘Tumbleweed’ at the basic flight encampment where all new pilots are given their radio call-sign by the flight instructors.
SMSgt Shoemaker has been a member of the Redmond based Overlake Composite Squadron for almost two years, and holds a staff duty assignment as a Flight Sergeant. The CAP cadet program has been active since 1941 and is open to youth aged 12-18. See www.overlakecap.org.