In 1966 the RCAF was severely cutting back on regional orientation flights in military transport aircraft for Air Cadets. Inspired by an experimental programme at Penhold, Alberta, Pilots Hank Bruhlman and Frank de Jong responded with a proposal utilizing gliders, to put the “Air” back into Air Cadets. They devised a plan to provide local glider familiarization flights to the Royal Canadian Air Cadets of 294 Chatham-
In 1967 the team was invited to provide familiarization flights to the hundreds of Cadets attending summer camp at Canadian Forces Base Trenton. It proved a great success, demonstrating a very affordable method to expose Air Cadets to flight on a personal and individual level.
In 1968 the programme entered Phase 2 -
The programme proved so successful and cost effective that the Department of National Defence and the Air Cadet League of Canada signed a Memorandum of Understanding to adopt it and provide glider familiarization and training nationally. Both men travelled to other Cadet Regions across the country to assist in the development of the gliding programme. This offspring of Chatham’s model has run continuously as the signature Air Cadet programme with a fleet of approximately 100 tow-
This plaque is placed to celebrate Hank Bruhlman’s and Frank de Jong’s vision, drive, and dedication to create a programme that has benefited hundreds of thousands of Royal Canadian Air Cadets and continues to do so.
Gratefully presented by Kent Flying Machines Chapter -
THEY PUT THE AIR IN AIR CADETS