Hotel Colorado to host Wing Conference |

Hotel Colorado to host Wing Conference

Heather McGregor
Post Independent Editor
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Kelley Cox Post Independent

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado – A full-sized sailplane, similar to a glider, will be on display in the courtyard of the Hotel Colorado on Saturday, April 9, for the annual Wing Conference of the Colorado Civil Air Patrol.

About 200 teen and adult members of the Colorado Civil Air Patrol are expected to attend the all-day conference at the hotel, where they will attend sessions on safety, aerospace education, in-flight communications and chaplain training.

With the sailplane on display, a free presentation on the aircraft by Civil Air Patrol Major Carl Keil, a retired Air Force pilot, will be open to the public at 3:30 p.m.

A sailplane is a lightweight aircraft without an engine that has the ability to gain elevation by catching updrafts in the atmosphere. Gliders, which are similar but heavier, can only drift down to a landing.

The Civil Air Patrol uses sailplanes and gliders as an introductory flying experience for teens who join the organization, said Capt. Sam Turner of Eagle, the director of administration for the Civil Air Patrol’s Colorado Wing.

Young people ages 12 to 20 who join the patrol’s cadet program have the opportunity to learn how to fly a sailplane, a glider and eventually light aircraft from licensed instructors.

Teen and adult members of the patrol also volunteer their time for search and rescue missions, done in collaboration with local authorities, and for training missions with the National Guard.

At present, the Civil Air Patrol has 35 squadrons in Colorado, but the closest ones to this area are in Grand Junction and Evergreen. Turner hopes that by bringing the Wing Conference to Glenwood Springs, interested teens and adults will come forward so he can form a new squadron that could be based in Eagle or Glenwood Springs.

“I would love to start a squadron in this area,” Turner said. “We have programs for cadets and for adults, and we are not looking just for pilots.”

Those interested in joining are welcome to attend the April 9 conference.

On Thursday, Turner and Colorado Wing Commander Edward Phelka appeared before the Glenwood Springs City Council to talk about the upcoming conference and the value of Civil Air Patrol. In turn, the city council proclaimed April 2-10 as “Civil Air Patrol – Colorado Wing Week” in the city.

Colorado already has a high rate of participation in Civil Air Patrol, Phelka said.

“We are the sixth-largest wing in the nation, with about 1,000 adults and 1,100 cadets. Our cadet program in Colorado has grown by 77 percent in the last three years,” he said.

“Colorado is an exciting place for Civil Air Patrol. We do so much flying, and we are very active in emergency service, looking for missing hikers and lost aircraft,” Phelka added.

The Wing Conference, being held in Glenwood Springs for the first time in about 20 years, will feature talks by key leaders in the organization, including the national commander, Maj. Gen. Amy Courter of Detroit and regional commander Col. Greg Cortum. The keynote speaker at the evening dinner will be Maj. Gen. H. Michael Edwards of Centennial, who is the adjutant general for Colorado, in charge of all National Guard operations in the state.

For more information on Civil Air Patrol and attending the Wing Conference, contact Sam Turner at (720) 939-9586 or, or visit the Colorado Civil Air Patrol website at

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