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Aerospace Education

The Thames River Composite Squadron supports both an internal and external aerospace education program. The Internal Aerospace Education Program serves both Cadets and Senior Members and the External Program is focused on the general community.

Cadets are offered a wide range of activities, some mandated by CAP regulations and others offered as enrichment opportunities. Cadets learn about aerospace topics such as history, aeronautics, and the space sciences as part of their promotion requirements.

Enrichment activities include a number of STEM-related activities such as rocket building, operating radio-controlled aircraft and drones, and building CAP-supplied kit projects such as a weather station, telescope, electrical circuitry, or robot. The Squadron has participated in field trips from one day long to a week. These included visits to museums and nationally important historic sites from Boston to Richmond, Virginia, a flight on a KC-10 refueling mission, and a visit to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Guggenheim Aeronautical Laboratory. 

The Squadron promotes further education and we have enjoyed seeing our cadets achieve success in vocations such as nursing, construction, engineering, and the military. Thames River has had three cadets who have graduated from the Coast Guard Academy, one from West Point, and one from the Air Force Academy.

Associated with the mandated activities but not required are opportunities for up to ten orientation flights in gliders and powered aircraft. Summer encampments are offered at the basic level and for advanced cadets, special activities such as flight training, emergency services training, and courses at both government and commercial facilities. One cadet participated in the International Air Cadet Exchange Program in Australia.

Cadets who wish to explore enrichment experiences are offered programs in STEM topics such as model rocketry, radio communications, cyber, radio-controlled model aircraft, and small unmanned air vehicles to name just a few.

Seniors are encouraged to take the Aerospace Education Program for Senior Members, basically a wide-ranging study of aerospace history and commercial and technical areas such as aircraft and airport operations, meteorology, astronomy, and astronautics.

The External Aerospace Education Program serves the community by visiting schools, social clubs, town fairs, and aviation-focused groups and is designed to keep the public informed about the history and current status of aerospace. CAP also supports K-12 teachers with equipment and assistance,

For 16 years, Thames River has published a weekly journal, The Coastwatcher, 6-10 pages in length with news of the Squadron, current events, and a chronology of interesting aviation events which have an anniversary on each day of the week of publication. Approximately 400 members of the general community and CAP are subscribers.

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