2011 is the year Kolton Streit wants to take the controls of a single-engine Cessna 172 plane.
On Saturday, Streit, 16, of Red Deer, was one of 240 Royal Canadian Air Cadets from across Alberta who gathered in Red Deer to apply for scholarship programs with the Air Cadet League of Canada, in partnership with the Department of National Defence.
Streit, who has been a cadet for five years, wants to attend a seven-week power pilot training program this summer to earn his Transport Canada private pilot licence.
But first, he has to impress a three-person interview panel, so the pressure was on.
“Basically you get the feeling of your heart beating and your palms start to sweat,” said Streit, a member of 24 Red Deer Squadron, while waiting for his interview at Lindsay Thurber Comprehensive High School were interviews were being conducted this year.
Cadets are judged on their cadet training, camps attended, school marks, a written narrative, community involvement, recommendation from their commanding officers, their interview conduct and the state of their uniform.
During their interview they were asked a fixed set of questions, including some on national current events.
Streit said he likes the challenge.
The Grade 11 Lindsay Thurber student hopes to apply to the Royal Military College of Canada to become an air force pilot.
Only 76 cadets will be chosen to be funded to participate in power pilot training, glider pilot training, advanced aviation technology course airport operations, advanced aviation technology course aircraft maintenance, and advanced aerospace course.
Cadets can apply for scholarships when they reach level three training and are at least 15 years old. Results of the interviews will be announced by mid April.
Darlene LaRoche, chairman of the Air Cadet League of Canada Alberta Provincial Committee, said many of the cadets on Saturday were after the same thing.
“They all want their wings. We have over 60 cadets applying for 27 positions for just glider pilot alone. Power pilot is even worse,” LaRoche said.
Seven older cadets will also be chosen to participate in an international exchange program. Last year, cadets went to Hong Kong, England, the United States, and elsewhere.
She said the interview process teaches cadets the importance of having confidence, to be engaging, to have good eye contact, and to look sharp in preparation for job interviews in the real world.
“It’s a really valuable life skill.”
The Royal Canadian Air Cadets accepts youth between the ages of 12-18 who want to learn more about the air activities with the Canadian Forces, develop leadership and good citizenship, and promote their physical fitness.
There are no cost to join air cadets. Although it’s a military-based program, there is no obligation for cadets to join the Canadian Armed Forces.
Alberta has over 3,000 air cadets in 42 squadrons.