Tuesday, October 30, 2018

CAP Awarded American Airlines Grant to Support Pilot Shortage Initiatives


American Airlines is helping Civil Air Patrol address a national emphasis on pilot shortages by providing grant funding to be used to train the next generation of aviators.
CAP, one of 17 American Airlines grant recipients, was awarded $25,000. The grants totaling $337,000 will benefit aviation-focused schools and organizations across America.
In American Airlines’ grant announcement, made Wednesday via news release, Capt. David Tatum, director of Pilot Recruiting and Development, said, “We believe we’re making the pilot profession more visible, accessible and obtainable to a broader range of people than ever before.”
“Solving a national pilot shortage is an industry-wide issue,” said CAP National Commander Maj. Gen. Mark Smith. “Our partnership with American Airlines will benefit programs designed to encourage CAP cadets to consider pursing aviation careers.”
Civil Air Patrol’s cadet program for youth 12 to 21 years old emphasizes pilot training through 19 National Flight Academies offered annually, as well as local academies and one-on-one training provided by over 600 active CAP flight instructors. In fiscal year 2019, these programs also will be complemented by $2.4 million in funding from the U.S. Air Force that will be used to support formal flight instruction, cadet orientation flights and science, technology, engineering and math initiatives.
To date, American’s Flight Education Grant program has awarded 34 grants totaling $789,000 to flight schools, nonprofit organizations, and middle school, high school and college-level organizations that generate innovative and creative ideas for growing and diversifying the nation’s pool of pilots. The American Airlines Cadet Academy, another innovative initiative targeting the pilot shortage, provides aspiring pilots of all backgrounds with the opportunity to receive training, financing and mentoring opportunities necessary to fly for American Airlines.

This article was originally published on www.CAP.news

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Squadron 150 Volunteers at Great Pacific Airshow in Huntington Beach

Over one million people converged onto Huntington Beach this past weekend (19 October-21) for The Great Pacific Airshow (formerly the Huntington Beach Airshow); in the middle of it all were Civil Air Patrol (CAP) members of Squadron 150, South Coast Group 7 and Southern California.

CAP members assisted with airshow operations, manned CAP information booths, interacted with the public, assisted attendees who wanted to take a picture in a CAP glider and more! We are proud that Squadron 150 members were very involved in the planning and execution of everything associated with CAP's involvement in this year's airshow and we "salute" all of our squadron's members who made this year's show an amazing success.

For their hard work CAP members had the best seat in the house, right at show center to watch this year's show featuring the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds, SOCOM Para Commanders, a C-47 Dakota from Lyon Air Museum, U.S. Air Force C-17 Globemaster III and KC-135 Stratotanker and more!

Here are some pictures from the weekend...

1st Lt. E. Buesing (L) and 2d Lt. Craig Roalf (R) at a Civil Air Patrol booth at The Great Pacific Airshow
Civil Air Patrol photo by SM Donna Babi

C-17 Globemsaster III and KC-135 Stratotanker
Civil Air Patrol photo by SM Donna Babi

Civil Air Patrol photo by SM Donna Babi

Civil Air Patrol cadets and adult members with the Thunderbirds Demonstration team 
Civil Air Patrol photo courtesy SM Donna Babi

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

No Squadron 150 Meeting This Week (18 October)

There will be NO Squadron 150 Meeting this Thursday 18 October as many of our members will be attending an event associated with the Great Pacific Airshow. As a reminder the airshow is this weekend 19-21 October in Huntington Beach. Please stop by our Civil Air Patrol booths at the airshow and say, "hello!"

We will be meeting as regularly scheduled on 25 October.

Squadron 150 members using FAA charts during a meeting
(Civil Air Patrol photo by 1st Lt. Rommel Anacan)

Tuesday, October 09, 2018

Civil Air Patrol Responsible for 155 Saves in 2018

This article was originally published on www.CAP.news

Vicky Travis
Contributing Writer

A save Sunday afternoon off the southern tip of Florida has given Civil Air Patrol a new  record for lives saved in a fiscal year – 155, as credited by the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center (AFRCC).

Virtually all of those saves – 147, or 95 percent – occurred with the support of CAP’s National Cell Phone Forensics Team. 
The organization totaled 154 saves in fiscal 1983 and again in fiscal 1994, surpassing 100 in 16 of the previous 51 years. Before that, saves weren't reported annually.
“An amazing year for CAP!” was the response of Maj. Gen. Mark Smith, CAP national commander, when he learned of the record-breaking number of saves.
The Florida save occurred after the AFRCC at Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida, contacted the cell phone team at 4:20 p.m. about a boater whose disabled craft ran aground after he left Naples, Florida, at 9 a.m. Contacting the relevant cell phone provider resulted in information about a ping 5,000 meters off Joe Kemp Key.

At 5:21 p.m., just over an hour after the AFRCC contacted the cell phone team, the U.S. Coast Guard used the team’s data to find the boater.

The new saves record reflects continuous advances in technology and training in one of CAP’s key missions, search and rescue. 
CAP’s total team effort for search and rescue, which also includes the National Radar Analysis Team and state- and locally based ground teams, totaled 1,044 missions for fiscal 2018.
The cell phone team participated in 373 of those missions, compared with 78 for the radar team. In addition to saves, the AFRCC credited CAP with 640 finds for fiscal 2018, of which 199 involved the cell team and 53 the radar team.
Last year the total number of missions stood at 798. The mission count for fiscal 2016 was 946.
Before 2009, the AFRCC assigned about 2,000 missions a year to CAP, with searches for activated emergency locator transmitters dominating. After the satellite system that monitored the old 121.5 megahertz beacons was turned off in February 2009, the annual mission count dropped by at least half.

Technology's impact
Since then, the cell phone team has been a major contributor to the rising annual mission count.
“Technology has changed how we do business,” said John Desmarais, CAP's director of operations. “We’re saving more lives and doing more in a cost-effective manner.”
“We’re always making tweaks to software, and constantly working to make sure we don’t waste time or put people at risk,” he said. “Both our cellular forensics team and the National Radar Analysis Team are revolutionizing how we support SAR operations.”
Cell phone data is often the first tool used in a search for a missing individual, as most people, including pilots, go nowhere these days without a cell phone. Cellular data can eliminate search areas and curtail the search time.
Lost hikers, snowmobilers, skiers and boaters have been found with the help of cell phone data.
“It’s not just where the phone last was, but we can get a picture of a stream of events over time,” said Maj. Justin Ogden, who built and has improved the software the cell team uses.
That team, which began with Ogden in 2006, now has eight members. It’s growing to meet the increasing requests for support, Desmarais said.
Early on, Ogden would manipulate cell phone data by hand in Excel and then use Google Earth to inform searchers. Now, smartphones are ubiquitous and the amount of data they provide is too overwhelming to work by hand.
So Ogden created software that would crunch the raw data and pour it into a program that connects to Google Earth.
When a person or plane is reported missing, ground search begins using clues from the cell phone team. Across the country, about 900 ground teams of three to six people are called upon to provide the feet, eyes and ears in a ground search, Desmarais said.
An incident commander, once notified, contacts wing personnel. The incident commander identifies staff and field resources and ground team members to go in and assist either the relevant state agency or the CAP commander, depending on which one is leading the mission.
“It’s all investigative work, with people analyzing data,” Desmarais said. 
As a search grows longer, incident commanders make decisions about the scale of the effort and resourcing in order not to waste time or put people at risk.
CAP may lead a search or help a local jurisdiction with a search.
“What ends up happening with cell phone data in most cases is that we’ll push it to local jurisdictions,” Desmarais said. “We offer whatever assistance we can provide, but some states are well-equipped, too. Some may need physical ground searchers. We do what we can for them.”
The cell phone team stays busy with searches for both aircraft and individuals, such as lost hikers. Summer is an especially busy time.  The team worked its 1,500th mission this July searching for a lost hiker in Utah.
“The cell phone team is going all the time,” Desmarais said.

Tuesday, October 02, 2018

September is National Preparedness Month

Note: This post was originally published on www.CAP.news

Vicky Travis
Contributing Writer
September is National Preparedness Month, prompting many government agencies to stress the importance of anticipating emergencies to the general public ... because they will happen.

For Civil Air Patrol, though, preparedness has always been in the organization’s DNA.
“We prepare to support a variety of disasters, but obviously also support search and rescue missions, communications activities and many other Air Force missions like air defense intercept training and helping training warfighters in the use of sensors,” said John Desmarais, CAP's national operations director. 
“Bottom line, we are probably not the CAP that people may have seen years ago. We do so much more now, as we continue to change to meet the needs of our nation.”
This month, some 3,000 global, national and local governments and private and public health institutions are encouraging preparedness efforts for all: The effort to help Americans prepare for disaster is detailed on the official website for the Department of Homeland Security.
Facing Florence
Hurricane Florence is bringing many of these lessons home with a vengeance after barreling onshore in North Carolina on Sept. 14. Residents throughout the Carolinas faced their own personal emergencies; many still are.

For the multitudes who evacuated and for others affected by widespread flooding, preparedness could include maintaining a supply kit, knowing their evacuation path and setting up communication with family.
CAP members go well beyond such basics.
“In preparation for the hurricanes, our members made sure equipment was ready and secure to ride out the storms, and once the storm cleared they have responded by collecting imagery, supporting emergency communications, transporting critical supplies and meeting any other requests we can reasonably support,”  Desmarais said.
In doing so, they were drawing on strenuous training at the local, wing, region and national levels.
Emergency services training
CAP members undergo a wide variety of training, whether in the air, on the ground or the classroom. They focus on such topics as flying, professional development, leadership at the senior member and cadet levels, aerospace education, high-tech equipment operation and youth development.
The highest-profile emergency services training opportunities are those offered through national activities like Hawk Mountain Ranger School and the National Emergency Services Academy (NESA)
“The training we do at NESA (and other programs) all go toward meeting our broader goal of being able to respond when called upon,” Desmarais said.

Hawk Mountain
In 1953, Air Force pararescue and survival instructors trained Pennsylvania Wing search and rescue teams at Westover Air Force Base, Massachusetts. In 1956, the school moved to property at Hawk Mountain, Pennsylvania, belonging to Col. Philip Neuweiler, Pennsylvania Wing commander from 1947-1970.
“We’re teaching cadets and senior members to go back and build emergency services in their unit and then teach and lead members in the field,” said Lt. Col. Brian J. Cuce, director of emergency services for the Pennsylvania Wing. “Anyone who graduates the school is encouraged and able to go back to their units and teach the skills they learned as a basic student.”
Training at Hawk Mountain starts with foundational skills. From there students may progress to Fully Qualified and Expert Ranger levels and choose either the Ranger track or Medic track.
This summer, 240 members from most CAP wings came to Kempton, Pennsylvania, for Hawk Mountain.
In 1996, Desmarais began the National Ground Search and Rescue School at the Miller School of Albemarle in Charlottesville, Virginia. Two years later it moved to Camp Atterbury in Edinburgh, Indiana.
The school evolved into the National Emergency Services Academy, and it now consists of three schools: Ground Search and Rescue, Mission Aircrew and Incident Command System. NESA added training for incident staff in 1998 and mission aircrew members in 2000.
This summer 490 participants attended, representing every CAP Wing. Many are currently working to support Hurricane Florence operations.
Looking ahead
A major update is in the works to align all CAP training, led by NESA staff members and experts from across the country, which embrace changing federal standards and reflect technological advances such as cell phone and radar forensics, airborne sensor collection and management.
Work is also underway to offer training at other times of year and locations as well as through distance-learning opportunities. Several new course offerings were rolled out during the summer and are now available in smaller sessions throughout the rest of the year.
“The newest addition is for small Unmanned Aerial System (sUAS) training to be added to the slate of main school courses and year-round sessions,” Desmarais said. “Some people don’t know we are doing that.”
Staff members are working with wings across the country to provide sUAS training in October in preparation for expanding this program.
At Hawk Mountain, new initiatives include making training more accessible through online resources. Also, Cuce is looking into appointing liaisons in each CAP region and using them to develop weekend training.
As both Hawk Mountain and NESA refine and update their training, CAP members have choices.
“NESA is probably more of a traditional school environment, where there is a combination of field and academic work in a classroom,” Desmarais said. “Hawk Mountain has students in the field throughout the event, sleeping in shelters and tents the whole time.
“Both have value, and some people prefer one environment over the other.”
But, the end goal is the same – to have highly trained members who are prepared to meet the needs at hand.