Sunday, August 29, 2004

Lisa and Kelly Anderson, whose family operates Anderson Aviation on Lagoon Drive, got their first taste of flying through the Civil Air Patrol while in high school.

Siblings take off
through Civil Air Patrol

The Andersons credit
the CAP for getting them started
in their careers in aviation

When Lisa Anderson attended Mililani High School a decade ago, her weekdays were spent on the golf links and her weekends at Mokuleia soaring in gliders with the Civil Air Patrol.

"Who knows, I may have been the Michele Wie of my time," said Anderson, noting that at 16 she had won the Hawaii Women's Stroke Play championship.

"But I guess flying was more important to me ... flying came first and golf came second," said Anderson, who still maintains a 7-handicap in golf.

By age 16, Anderson soloed in gliders as a member of the Civil Air Patrol and got her private pilot's license two years later.

Today, Anderson, 30, is a captain flying in the left-hand seat for Continental Express and is waiting for a spot with Continental Airlines. "I was in line to get hired in 2001, then 9/11 occurred," Anderson said, "and Continental furloughed nearly 800 pilots; so I am slowly working my way back up the seniority ladder since Continental is recalling its pilots."

Currently, Anderson, who has logged 6,500 flight hours and holds an air transport pilot rating, is based in Cleveland, Ohio, flying a 50-passenger jet. She made captain in 1999.

She and her brother, Kelly Anderson, credit the Civil Air Patrol for introducing them to flying while in high school.

John Gleeson, who has been involved with the CAP for more than four decades, said students like Lisa and Kelly can accumulate at least 400 hours of glider time by the time they graduate from high school. "The advantage here is the numerous takeoffs and landings they have to perform."

Col. Jeff Stickel, wing commander of the Hawaii Civil Air Patrol, said the students, who can join as young as 12 and remain a cadet until they are 21, also are given training in aerospace education, emergency planning and services and leadership skills.

The Hawaii wing, which is one of 52 in the country, consists of six squadrons and 600 people.

Stickel, who has been affiliated with the CAP for the past 31 years, hopes to expand the wing to include one devoted to glider operations at Dillingham Airfield in Mokuleia and another one in Diamond Head.

The CAP wing now maintains 10 aircraft: six single-engine Cessna 182s, three single-engine Cessna 172s and one twin-engine Partnavia.

Gleeson, who runs the CAP glider operations, said the Hawaii wing is now building a hangar to house its two gliders at Dillingham. With labor donated by Royal Construction, about one-third of an acre of land has been cleared and temporary concrete slab laid. Gleeson is hoping that Navy Seabees and the Hawaii Air National Guard will supply the labor needed to erect the new buildings, including two mobile 40-foot offices.

Kelly Anderson, 27, joined the CAP when he was 12 and soloed in gliders two years later. After graduating from Mililani High School in 1994, Anderson joined the Hawaii Army National Guard and served with the 29th Support Battalion for four years working part-time as a mechanic.

But Kelly Anderson acknowledged that he didn't return to flying until his father, Billie Lee Anderson, who started Anderson Aviation on Lagoon Drive in 1992, died in 1999. "I decided to help my mother and my sister," Kelly Anderson added, since his sister was serving as president of Anderson Aviation from Cleveland.

Within a year's time, Kelly Anderson received his air transport pilot's rating and now is a captain with Alpine Air, which hauls cargo between Molokai and Lanai. "I fly for Alpine six days a week from 4 in the morning to 9," Kelly Anderson said, "and then from three in the afternoon until five I am a flight instructor at my family's company."

He also has assumed the presidency of Anderson Aviation from his sister and runs the company, which has a fleet of six airplanes and 14 flight instructors, with his mother Leonia Yadao Anderson.

Lisa Anderson said it was her mother who steered her to the CAP having been a member when she was a teen-ager.

"It's a great experience; try it," was Leonia Anderson's advice to her daughter.

Anderson was captain of Mililani High School's golf team for three years until she graduated in 1992. She was accepted to the U.S. Air Force Academy, but decided to attend the University of North Dakota because of its specialized aeronautical program.

"I talked with several students who were already at the Air Force Academy," Lisa Anderson said, "and I learned that there were no guarantees that I would get to fly. This was when a lot of people were being forced out because the services were cutting back."

After graduating in three years with a bachelor of science degree in aeronautical studies and as a certified flight instructor, Anderson worked as an instructor pilot at her family's flight school and flew for Aloha Island Air until she joined Continental Express in 1996.

Civil Air Patrol, Hawaii Wing
Anderson Aviation


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