C\Maj. Thomas Murphy gets his Private Pilot’s Certificate

C/Maj Thomas Murphy gets his private pilot certificate.  Photo by 1st Lt. Joe Murphy.
C/Maj Thomas Murphy gets his private pilot certificate. Photo by 1st Lt. Joe Murphy.

Cadet Major Thomas Murphy has been in CAP for three years.  It will be four this October.  He decided that he wanted to pursue his airman’s certificate after returning home from Northeast Region (NER) flight academy and soloing.  He achieved his goal last month, on June 12th to be exact:  FAA Private Pilot Certificate.

According to Murphy, “It took around 8 months to finish up my [certificate.]  It took a total of around 55-60 flight hours which is about 30-40 flights.”  He finished up with a total of 64 flight hours according to his Flight Instructor, and also completed his CAP Form 5.  The requirements for the CAP Form 5 can be found in CAPR 60-1.

When asked what challenged him most as he attempted to accomplish this significant personal milestone, he replied, “The most difficult part of getting my certificate was finding time to dedicate toward studying for my flying and preparing ahead.  Also balancing my flight training with my school work I found difficult.”

C/Maj Thomas Murphy is presented with his name patch with wings by his father, 1st Lt. Joe Murphy.  Photo courtesy of 1st Lt. Joe Murphy.
C/Maj Thomas Murphy is presented with his name patch with wings by his father, 1st Lt. Joe Murphy. Photo courtesy of 1st Lt. Joe Murphy.

Murphy trained with two different instructors at the NER flight academy.  Upon returning home, he received the rest of his flight instruction from Lieutenant Colonel Peter Hantelman of the National Capital Wing.  “The easiest part was once I was up in the air with Lt. Col. Hantelman, manipulating the controls and physically getting more acquainted with how the plane feels and learning how to actually take control of the plane.”  His father pinned his CAP Pilot wings on him.  Although the original plan was for Murphy to take his dad for a short flight as his first passenger, the weather and Form 5 requirements kept this from happening.  Of course all pilots know that no matter how much planning goes into any flight evolution, flexibility is key!  His father is 1st Lt. Joe Murphy, a senior MVCS member, and the leader of the squadron’s cadets.

C/Maj Thomas Murphy and his instructor, Lt. Col. Pete Hantelman.  Photo courtesy of 1st Lt. Joe Murphy.
C/Maj Thomas Murphy and his instructor, Lt. Col. Pete Hantelman. Photo courtesy of 1st Lt. Joe Murphy.

Murphy advises those considering pursuit of an airman’s certificate, sometimes referred to incorrectly as a “pilot’s license”, that, “if you are really interested in pursuing your certificate, realize it will require time, a dedicated flight instructor (senior member), money, and lastly parental support.  If it really is your dream to obtain your [certificate] then go for it,” but Murphy went on to say that what you get out of your training is directly proportional to the effort you put into it.

He reemphasized the level of effort it took to achieve this goal, “When people who are non-pilots hear you got your certificate, I really don’t think the average person understands the amount of training and preparation that is required… After receiving all of my training for my [certificate], I realized…that I understand little of aviation [relative] to some of the pilots who have been flying for many years.  I also truly respect the experience and knowledge of a regular commercial pilot, and what it took to bring them to where they are, after going through my own training just for my [private pilot certificate.]”

Murphy was recognized at a squadron awards ceremony on June 25th.

NATCAP Cadets Solo Again

NATCAP Cadets Solo. From left to right:  C/__ Miguel Saunder, Lt Col Peter Hantelman, C/Capt Thomas Murphy.  Photo courtesy of Lt Col Peter Hantelman
NATCAP Cadets Solo. From left to right: c/MSgt Miguel Saunder, Lt Col Peter Hantelman, c/Capt Thomas Murphy. Photo courtesy of Lt Col Peter Hantelman

On Saturday, 11 October, two NATCAP cadets completed solo flights for the first time since Flight Academy this past summer.  They flew out of Stafford Regional 
Airport near Fredericksburg, VA.

C/Capt Thomas Murphy from our own MVCS was joined by C/MSgt Miguel Saunders from Arlington Composite Squadron, one of our sister squadrons in the National Capital Wing.  Murphy flew his first solo flight in Bangor, Maine this past summer.

Their flight instructor, Lt Col Peter Hantelman commented on their airmanship, “They are both doing really well.”  Hantleman serves as the Operations Officer for Fairfax Composite Squadron, another NATCAP sister squadron.  As NATCAP aircraft have been relocated temporarily to Stafford Regional from their usual location at Davison Army Airfield at Ft. Belvoir, one of the advantages is being able to do multiple practice landings.

If you are interested in flight academy, you can check CAP’s National Cadet Special Activities page for more information.  This video from 2012 gives a cadet’s perspective.