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Civil Air Patrol teen gets his wings

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Youth: Salmon sets his sights on becoming a commercial pilot

By Tris DeRoma

It was a very proud moment for the Salmon family as their son Austin, went up to receive the pre-solo wings he achieved at glider encampment earlier this summer.

Pre-solo in a glider means that though there’s an instructor in the plane, the instructor lets the pilot do all the flying.

Salmon received his training, which took place in Hobbs in Late June, early July, in an L-23 glider.

Salmon’s next step is to get his solo flight wings for glider before moving on to powered flight. Just 16, Salmon has set his sights on perhaps working for Spaceport America as a commercial pilot.

“I’d really like to be a commercial pilot for a private space company here in New Mexico."

Not surprisingly, Salmon’s fascination with flight started long before he joined Los Alamos’ Civil Air Patrol two-and-a-half years ago.

“I’ve been interested in flight my whole life,” Salmon said. “I was totally mesmerized by airplanes; something about them just clicked with me.”

Currently, Salmon holds the rank of cadet senior airman in the LACAP and is the patrol’s supply officer. He would someday like to either join the Air Force Academy or a college that teaches flight. His favorite plane is the V-22 Osprey, a supply plane used by the military that takes off and lands like a twin rotor helicopter, but flies like a plane using the same engines. One of the unique tilt-rotor planes recently landed at Los Alamos Airport as part of a Marine training exercise.

So what’s Salmon’s advice for teens looking to join the Civil Air Patrol? “Do it as soon as you can because it’s a lot of fun,” he said.