LAKE TWP.  Christian Hoch is a junior at Lake High School and a member of the Akron Canton Composite Squadron in Ohio where he serves as Cadet Commander. He is also a part of the Cyber-Patriot team and Ground Team 3. His plans for the future include obtaining his Private Pilot’s license, obtaining his Bachelor of Science degree in Aeronautics and flying for the United States Air Force.

This past summer, he took some of the first steps to getting his Private Pilot’s License (PPL). From July 12-21, Hoch participated in 10 days of action-packed training at the Ocean County Airport in Toms River, N.J. At the end of the week, Hoch solo piloted a Cessna aircraft, advanced his personal flight training syllabus, had the privilege of touring air traffic control towers, experienced life on Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst and learned about aircraft safety and professionalism from experienced Civil Air Patrol Instructors.

“I soloed on July 20 which involved taking off, climbing to 700 feet and then turning into a landing pattern,” Hoch said. “Everything we do on the solo flight is to prepare for the final landing. The flight took about 10 minutes.”

Hoch said he has always loved flying and airplanes. He also said he knows he wants to enlist in the military.

“I joined Civil Air Patrol because of my love for flying. When I first started doing the orientation flights, I really knew that I wanted to be a pilot and serve in the Air Force and be a career airman,” Hoch said.

Hoch had to complete special ground training last year by watching videos and working online. When he attended the training this past summer, he started flying almost immediately and flew every day in preparation for the solo flight.

“It was definitely an amazing experience. I was focused on getting up there and flying the pattern as well as following my training. I felt like all my hard work and training paid off,” Hoch said.

His next step in his journey is to apply for scholarships in December to help pay for his flight training which costs between $8,000 and $10,000. Then next summer, he plans to complete any additional training he needs to get his pilot’s license.

Hoch is planning on attending the flight program at Kent State University and applying for the Air Force Academy at the same time.

He is also looking forward to doing his solo cross-country flight. He has to solo to three different airports in Ohio to learn to fly through different air spaces. He’ll also have to land at the three different airports. 

Civil Air Patrol (CAP) cadets from across the nation are receiving flight training and actual experience piloting Civil Air Patrol aircraft with certified flight instructors. NFA-NJ Wing Falcon Flight Powered Academy is a special training activity of the Civil Air Patrol in which cadets had to meet various criteria to apply.

Air Patrol, the longtime all-volunteer U.S. Air Force auxiliary, operates a fleet of 560 aircraft, performs about 90 percent of continental U.S. inland search and rescue missions, as tasked by the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center, and is credited by them with saving an average of 80 lives annually. CAP’s 63,000 members also perform homeland security, disaster relief and drug interdiction missions at the request of federal, state and local agencies. CAP also plays a leading role in aerospace/STEM education, and its members serve as mentors to over 26,000 young people participating in CAP’s Cadet Programs. In addition to the Falcon Flight Academy, there are more than 50 other national activities ranging from Space Command Orientation to Cyber programs.

Hoch said he started with his group when he was 12 years old. It meets every Sunday year round. The group was meeting at the National Guard building at the Akron Canton Airport but moved to the Greentown VFW last year.

“The training takes us from being followers to being leaders," Hoch said. "It’s mostly about leadership training and aerospace education. I really want to thank my family for always encouraging me and helping me meet my goals and my instructor David Mull for never giving up on me and making sure I soloed.”