CPH: Week in review in the Air

Carolina Premiere Hockey Flying on the ice and off

Written by Dickie Dunn

Coordination, extensive training, focus, attention to detail, the ability to stay composed under pressure, effective communication, and strong decision making are necessary for success.  Several members of the CPH 18UAA team are proving this to be true both on the ice and in the cockpit.

CPH Defenseman Caden Walters has always been interested in flying, but once he took a discovery flight at a local airport, he became focused on becoming a pilot.  He has since joined the Air Force JROTC and hopes to earn an Air Force Chief of Staff Scholarship to offset the costs of pilot training and licensing.  For Wally, as his teammates call him, hockey and flying both serve as an escape and yet require a great deal of focus.

Another CPH Defenseman, Jake Vap is the son of a USAF fighter pilot who would like to follow is his dad’s footsteps.  Vapstarted flying at the beginning of the school year and currently has clocked eight hours piloting a Cessna 172.  The history, speed and power of aviation are what draws Vap to flying.  He recently got to fly in a A-10 simulator and would love to fly F-15s in the Air Force.

Assistant Coach Don Klinger is a very important part of the 18UAA team. Don recently rented a single engine Piper Cherokee and flew with Head Coach Bill Bredin to Knoxville, Tennessee for a four-game weekend.  Sitting in the right seat is a bit of a role reversal for Bredin who said “We work really welltogether on the bench because we have familiarity and are always on the same page. Don is always providing insight about the players or pointing out something I may have missed.   If I can do some of the same things in return, I’m happy to serve as his co-pilot.”  To Klinger’s point, “communication is essential in both hockey and flying”. Klinger added, “the most joy I get from flying is sharing it with others, doing it well. I also enjoygoing to new places”.  He has flown to road games in Charleston, Raleigh, Atlanta, and Nashville in addition to the recent trip to Knoxville.

Coach Bill Bredin has been around small planes his whole life and has lots of skydiving experience.  His dad was a commercial seaplane pilot and owned a skydiving school when he was a kid.  He summed it up by saying, “for me to be a successful pilot, hockey player, or anything for that matter, it takes great passion.  To put in the required work, learn as much as you can, and constantly reflect back on past experiences to improve, are all things that don’t happen without the foundation of passion for your pursuit. I encourage Caden and Jake, as well as all otherplayers to pursue their true passions because there is nothing like doing what you love.”  

Maybe flying experience helps on the ice. Maybe hockey experience helps pilots. Maybe both are true.

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