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Cadet WO Second Class Mitchell Mansfield from Comox, B.C., is spending the summer of 2019 working alongside specialized aircraft maintenance engineers (AMEs) at the Comox Cadet Flying Training Centre (CFTC). Situated close to the 442 Transport and Rescue Squadron hangar at 19 Wing Comox, the highly modified Cessna 182 tow planes and Schweizer 2-33A gliders have a similar yellow livery for the same reason: so they can be seen in the air. Among them, a young blue-clad figure smiles to himself as he works.
He is the only cadet in this position at Comox CFTC, and is working on the tow planes and gliders used in the flight training programs this summer. As the cadets on the Glider Pilot Scholarship Course work toward their Glider Pilot Licence, the tow planes and gliders work hard each day, requiring routine maintenance at frequent intervals. Under the supervision of experienced AMEs, Mansfield will be undertaking most aspects of the work involved in keeping the gliders and tow planes safe and in top flying condition.
“This is really fun,” he said with a grin. “I love working on the aircraft and working with the crew here. The things they have taught me are really cool, and they have integrated me into the AME lifestyle. Working here in the hangar is so special. Not many people get to do that.”
Two years ago, he attended a course on aircraft maintenance at Canadore College in North Bay, Ont., through the cadet program. It was there that he became hooked on maintaining aircraft. So he was delighted when he was accepted for this job for the summer.
He has been a cadet with 386 Komox Royal Canadian Air Cadet Squadron in Courtenay, B.C., for five years after joining when a friend told him about all the cool things he could do. “Air Cadets offers amazing opportunities,” he said with passion. “No matter who you are, you will find your niche in cadets, and have a great time!”
Although loving his work this summer, Mansfield is not planning on following a career as an AME. In September, he will be taking up a place in engineering at the University of Victoria, B.C., and hopes to move into a career in biomedical engineering. There are many summer training courses attended by about 20,000 Sea, Army and Air Cadets across Canada this summer. The Cadet Program is for youth 12-18 years of age. The aims of the Cadet Program are to instill in youth the attributes of leadership, citizenship, physical fitness and an interest in the air, land and sea activities of the Canadian Armed Forces.