Rocket show will light up sky on Sunday

Public invited to watch event at spillway

Michelle Stuckey
October 21, 2011 at 9:15 am  | Mobile Reader | Pring this storyPrint 

Cadets with the Civil Air Patrol will shoot off homemade rockets on Sunday in the Bonnet Carre Spillway.
Cadets with the Civil Air Patrol will shoot off homemade rockets on Sunday in the Bonnet Carre Spillway.
Rockets will be launching hundreds of feet into the air over the Bonnet Carre Spillway on Sunday. Cadets with the Civil Air Patrol, the volunteer auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force, will set off rockets that they built themselves.

Lt. John Wigginton of Hahnville said that the rockets will fly anywhere from 500 to 1,100 feet high.

The public is invited to come out and watch the launching as well as sign up to join the group. Wigginton is the only current member from St. Charles Parish, but he hopes this event will draw some attention from local adults and teens.

“We are hoping that not only will we get the cadets' launches in so that they can get certifications….but also to get some new members,” he said. The group meets at the VFW Hall in Harahan and is open to kids ages 12-18 and adult volunteers, as long as they pass a thorough background check.

The cadets will begin launching the aircrafts at 1 p.m. just off of Spillway Road. Once each rocket reaches its highest point, a small parachute will deploy and the rocket will be collected and reused in the future.

The cadets started building rockets that would launch using water and Mentos or Alka-Seltzer. They have progressed past that to solid rockets with motor propellants. After Sunday, the cadets will advance on to what Wigginton calls “monster” rockets that will fly up to 6,000 feet.

The Civil Air Patrol covers several emergency services areas, including search and rescue missions, disaster relief, humanitarian services, Air Force support, homeland security and actions against drug-trafficking operations.

The organization's first cadet program was started during World War II as a way to provide training for future pilots. Since then, the program has grown, combining aerospace education with leadership and career training.

Today, cadets are those members who join from age 12 through age 18. Cadets who turn 18 may either become a senior member or remain a cadet until their 21st birthday at their own discretion. As a cadet progresses through the program, they earn various achievements by successfully passing both leadership and aerospace education tests. The numerous awards, achievements and opportunities available to Civil Air Patrol cadets allow them to foster their leadership in an academic and forgiving environment.

Those who are interested in the program but cannot attend the rocket launch this weekend can call Wigginton at (985)783-8791 or (504)390-8586 for information on joining.

View other articles written Michelle Stuckey

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