Captain Tomas Dundzilla, left, with the cadets as they show off their certificates of first flight Saturday, April 29. From second left are Cadet Senior Airman Malachi Johnston, Cadet Airman Connor Ridley and Cadet Airman Samuel Brassard. Photos courtesy of Air Force Captain Rhonda O’Shea

Three local cadets got the opportunity to operate an aircraft for the first time on Saturday. U.S. Air Force Captain Tomas Dundzilla left the Bangor airport early Saturday morning and flew to Brunswick, where he introduced the cadets from the Brunswick area to the experience of flight and let them each of them take the controls and become the pilot for about 45 minutes each.

Cadets examine a map with Air Force Captain Tomas Dundzilla on Saturday.

Flying from Brunswick to Fryeburg and then back over to the Knox County Airport and down to Belfast and back to Brunswick gave each of the three cadets a lot of time in the Cessna 172 to learn about the controls, radio talk and the science that makes flight possible. Through Civil Air Patrol, flight orientation lessons include navigation, weather, instruments, flight maneuvers and more.

“I was nervous about flying at first, but I really loved being a pilot,” Malachi Johnston said when he made it back to Brunswick.

Samuel Brassard said that he “took a thousand pictures from the back seat because it is just so wonderful up there.”

Connor Ridley reported that he was nervous at first because “I have never flown before, but this was one of the reasons I joined Civil Air Patrol, because I want to fly.”

Civil Air Patrol in Maine has 10 squadrons from Sanford to Presque Isle. Programs are open to youth aged 12-18, and volunteer opportunities are open for adults, pilots and non-pilots alike. For more information about joining the Brunswick Squadron or any other squadron in Maine, visit and click on the Join tab.

Cadets check out the Cessna 172 plane Captain Tomas Dundzilla flew down from Bangor.

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