Students at the 2015 Johnson Flight Academy pull a CAP
glider onto the runway at Coles County Memorial Airport
in Mattoon, Illinois. In addition to gliders, JFA offers
training with powered aircraft and hot-air balloons.
In his many years of Civil Air Patrol
service, Lt. Col. Raymond J.
Johnson has influenced thousands
of cadets through his tireless work
to promote CAP and aerospace
education. In this 2010 photo,
Johnson speaks at the flight academy that bears his name.
as the granddaddy of all CAP flight academies, JFA is one of
the most popular summer destinations for CAP cadets wanting to fly powered aircraft, gliders and even hot-air balloons.
great many students, probably 2,500 or more cadets,
have graduated from that encampment, and many have
gone into aviation careers as a result of Johnson said
first, it was just going to be a one- or two-time
he said. it got so much support, we kept it
Today, the academy is held over a four-week period
are so many benefits for CAP said Johnson, who at age 91 is still involved in aerospace education in
Arizona. get the opportunity to learn about aviation.
And good for us all; there is the tremendous need for
more young people to go into the aviation industry, and not
be just pilots. CAP has done a really good job exposing
young people to the many opportunities there are in the
Col. Rickey Oeth, former Illinois Wing commander and
a JFA contributor since 2002, having served as commander
76 Civil Air Patrol Volunteer
The Johnson Flight Academy, offered since 1967, is one of
more than a dozen flight academies annually available to
CAP cadets at the local and national levels.
of the activity for 10 years, said he strongly believes in flight
training for cadets as it ties strongly into aerospace
education and cadet programs.
our mission statement says, JFA strives to provide a
safe, low-cost, high-quality flight experience that will help
shape aerospace Oeth said. 50
years of service has demonstrated that mission statement to
be valid and
One of graduates, Cadet Lt. Col. Jodie Gawthrop of
the Illinois Wing, flew this summer at EAA AirVenture
Oshkosh with famed actor Harrison Ford as part of
millionth Young Eagles flight.
attended Johnson Flight Academy first as a glider student in 2015, then returned this summer to learn to fly
powered Gawthrop said. completely
immersed in aviation throughout the week was such a