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Flight Team Scores at West Point

A Soaring Scholar Takes Flight at USCGA

Stefanie Senkow / Photo by First Class Bayley Olds
May 3, 2018

A Career That Can Take Off NEW LONDON, Conn. – When you think United States Coast Guard, you think safeguarding our seas, right? Sure, protecting our waterways is priority, but did you know the Coast Guard has a higher percentage of pilots in its officer corps than any U.S. military service—including the Air Force? And at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, cadets are taking their talents to new heights with the USCGA flight team.

Hot off the runway with some impressive victories at this year’s Spring Service Academy Competition, the flight team provides leadership and military aviation skill development to cadets. From monthly flying practice and evening ground training sessions, to flight simulator events and competitions, the team welcomes cadets of all backgrounds, from experienced to beginners.

First Class Cadet and flight team member Bayley Olds, who took second place in the overall “Top Pilot” category at last month’s Spring Service Academy Competition, credits the Academy with fueling his passion for aviation by getting hands-on experience during Cadet Aviation Training Program (CATP) last summer. At this week-long summer program in Mobile, AL, Olds got a first-hand glimpse of flying as a passenger aboard Coast Guard helicopters.

“This experience made a career in flying seem more attainable and less intimidating,” said Olds. Olds, a Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering major, decided to obtain his private pilot license, and upon completing his certification in February 2017, joined the Academy flight team.

Olds will be stationed at sea on the USCGC CYPRESS after graduation. He plans to apply for flight training.

“What I love most about aviation is that all the pilots I have met in the community are all humble and dedicated, and they all work together as a team,” Olds states about his inspiring interactions along his Coast Guard Academy journey. With plans to one day fly his own H-60 helicopter, Olds is a testament to the fact that the sky’s the limit at the United States Coast Guard Academy.