Two local teens earn Civil Air Patrol solo wings, pilot license

Local News

Jack Vakiener

CORNING, N.Y. (WETM) – Cadet Captain Jack Vakiener earned his Civil Air Patrol solo wings in a powered aircraft on Thursday, August 12 in his pursuit to get his pilot license.

The Elmira 16-year-old piloted a Cessna 172 above Costa Flying Service in Painted Post, a feat made possible by a grant from the Horseheads chapter of the Experimental Aviation Association.

Vakiener is still working on getting his driver’s license.

Lucas Pratt

In July, another local cadet in the Twin Tiers Cadet Squadron, Cadet Lieutenant Lucas Pratt, received his private pilot license just before leaving for college.

Both Vakiener and Pratt received the EAA scholarship, supported by the Ray Foundation.

Jim Suggs, former president of the local chapter, awarded Vakiener a second scholarship after the first one was so successful.

“EAA is working hard to find ways to interest young people in aviation, or to assist those who are interested but find the cost to be a significant obstacle,” Suggs said. “Lucas and Jack are well deserving of the scholarship, and we hope it will go a long way towards helping them reach their goal of careers in aviation.”

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