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CAP United Kingdom Program (2010)

CAP United Kingdom Program (2010)

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Published by CAP History Library
Civil Air Patrol
Civil Air Patrol

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Categories:Types, Research, History
Published by: CAP History Library on Sep 04, 2010
Copyright:Public Domain


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1. In 2008 the author made an application to the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust (WCMT) togain financial support to travel in the USA and
spend time
with the United States Air ForceAuxiliary Civil Air Patrol (CAP). A subsequent interview at the offices of the WCMT in Londonresulted in the award of a Travelling Fellowship to spend 4 weeks
in the USA. ThisFellowship took place between 20 September and 20 October 2009. After spending one week inWashington DC the author travelled to Florida, Texas and Colorado before completing theFellowship at the national headquarters of the CAP at Maxwell Air Force Base in Alabama.
2. The Sky Watch Community Air Service, later re-titled the Sky Watch Civil Air Patrol (1) wasformed in Yorkshire in 2000 by a group of private pilots who were saddened by the report of twoyoung girls, Kymberley Allcock and Sophie George, who were killed whilst playing near a railway
line in Wales. The question they asked themselves was; ‘What would we do if we saw a dangerous
event in progress on the ground below the aircraft
when engaged in recreational flying?’
TheFounder of Sky Watch, Arnold Parker carried this idea forward and promoted the idea of acommunity air service in Yorkshire. Aviation has no boundaries, the sky covers the land and thesea, and the concept of using private aircraft to keep observations for people in danger and propertyunder threat quickly spread to other parts of the UK. A simple news letter kept the members intouch and units were formed from Scotland in the north to Sussex in the south. It was inevitablethat this embryo organization would attract former military pilots who wished to respond to a newchallenge and an operations manual was published. By now, Sky Watch also had its own websiteand an approach from the US Civil Air Patrol resulted in an exchange of correspondence and ideas.The Americans were generous in their support and it became obvious that the new Civil Air Patrolin the UK could learn a great deal
from their ‘cousins’ who had formed a civil air patrol in 1941
.Common sense suggested that the British could learn from the experience of the Americans and, atthe same time, avoid repeating similar mistakes during the early years of development.. By nowthe UK Civil Air Patrol was a registered charity in England and Wales. It later became a registeredcharity in Scotland. It is governed by a Chairman and a Board of Trustees. By 2010 it was time forthe UK organization to move forward.
3. In 2009 the Sky Watch Civil Air Patrol had some 300 members with around 250 aircraft. Themajority of aircraft are small, two seat with a single piston engine in the very light aircraft (VLA)category. However, there are a small number of light helicopters, some weight-shift microlightsand, at this time, 9 autogyros. It is believed that Sky Watch has the largest autogyro fleet in
2Europe. Due to the wide range of experience among the pilots, from the newly qualified with aprivate pilots licence (PPL), or a national private pilots licence (NPPL) to those with a great deal of flying experience gained during a military or commercial career, it was agreed, at the beginning of 2009 that all Sky Watch flying must be supervised. Therefore, the Trustees recommended that allmembers must belong to a unit with a unit chief pilot in charge. After taking into account theflying experience of unit chief pilots and the individual members it was also agreed that a unit withmembers with limited flying experience would be designated as a
 patrol unit 
and those with greaterexperience, with a unit chief pilot and a core of members having in excess of 250 flying hours,would be
responder units
with their details listed on the data base of the Royal Air ForceAeronautical Rescue Co-ordination Centre (RAF ARCC) at RAF Kinloss in Scotland. At thebeginning of 2009 there were 9 patrol units and 10 responder units. By the end of the year this hadchanged to 8 responder units and 7 patrol units; two new units were formed, 5 units disbanded andone was suspended for failing to comply with the recommended unit structure with a unit chief pilotin command.4. The patrol units were not expected, nor encouraged to do anything other than to report inincidents that are observed during recreational flying. By comparison, the responder units wereencouraged to develop contacts with the emergency services, the local government civilcontingencies units and those other organizations within the voluntary sector, for example theRoyal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) and the mountain and lowland rescue teams;
organizations that would benefit from the availability of an ‘eye in the sky’ d
uring searchoperations. During the course of the year those units with better organization developed standardoperating procedures (SOPs), together with crew call-out lists and entered into memorandums of understanding with their local police and others. These responder units may be expected to respondto requests for search missions for missing persons and to complete air to ground photography torecord such things as flooding and serious pollution when other, regular military and police aircraftare unavailable. Response times may vary from unit to unit depending on pilot availability.
5. The US Civil Air Patrol (CAP) was formed in 1941 as a response to the war with Germany.Civilian aircraft and their pilots were recruited to keep observations for German submarines thatwere attacking shipping on the eastern seaboard of the USA. During this period the CAP arecredited with locating 173 enemy submarines, attacking 57 and sinking 2. In addition, CAP iscredited with providing assistance to 91 ships in distress and helping to rescue 363 survivors. In1948 the US Air Force was formed and CAP became an auxiliary of the USAF. Nevertheless, CAPis still a volunteer civilian organization incorporated by Congress in 1946 under Public Law 476 asa private non-profit making organization.6. Today, CAP is a Congress funded community service organization. The fleet of privately
owned aircraft has now largely been replaced by a fleet of ‘corporate’ aircraft that incl
udes theCessna 172, Cessna 182, Cessna 206, the Maule, the DHC Beaver and the Gippsland GA8 Airvan.There are also some gliders used by the air cadet element. The CAP has 59,000 members of which26,000 are air cadets; the UK has over 40,000 air cadets! Each of the states of the USA, togetherwith Washington DC and Puerto Rica has a CAP Wing. Then there are 8 regions which share the
3same boundaries as the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Although the bulk of the membership are volunteers with a volunteer head, Major General Amy Courter there is apermanent, salaried staff of around 150 with an Executive Director, Don Rowland at the head and aMissions Director, John Salvador in charge of operations. The bulk of the permanent staff arebased at the national headquarters at Maxwell Air Force Base, Montgomery, Alabama. MaxwellAFB is also the location for the CAP national operations centre (NOC). At the front line there arethree distinct divisions, emergency services, cadet programmes and aerospace education.Altogether there are 8 regions, 52 wings and 1,600 units.7. That element which is of greatest interest to the UK Civil Air Patrol is the emergency serviceswhich includes senior squadrons with attached aircraft and composite squadrons which include bothsenior members and air cadets. However, as the air cadets in the UK are funded by the Ministry of Defence and administered by the RAF they can be discounted when making comparisons betweenthe two organizations. The units with aircraft, the emergency service squadrons are responsible for:Airborne reconnaissance of border and coastal areas including critical infrastructure.Damage assessment and recovery support for disaster areas.Aerial transport of equipment and personnel including blood, tissue and organs.
Communications support including ‘hi
 bird’ radio relay.
 Overland search and rescue (SAR) on behalf of the USAF.The US CAP flies 90% of all the USAF SAR missions and 80% of all missions flown by the 1
AirForce over continental USA. The USAF ARCC is co-located within the Operations Centre of the1
Air Force at Tyndall Air Force Base in Florida.8. Apart from the special search equipment, Airborne Real-time Hyperspectral EnhancedReconnaissance (ARCHER) carried in the 16 x GA8 Airvans the main item of role equipment is aNikon camera with an attachment that allows the GPS position of the aircraft to be added to eachdigital image. Some aircraft are also fitted with the Satellite-transmitted Digital Imaging System(SDIS) which allows images to be transmitted from the aircraft to the ground. However, the mostpowerful sensor remains the trained observer looking out of the windows of the aircraft. The costof running individual aircraft varies between US$120
US$160 with an average of US$130 perflying hour. Air Force assigned missions are covered by Congressional funding. Those missionsrequested by state or local authorities are charged at the rate applicable to individual aircraft typesagainst a scale that includes maintenance and the cost of fuel. The aircraft crew are unpaidvolunteers. Amendments to the rules of the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA), the equivalent of the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) permit pilots with a private pilot licence, a non-commercial licence, to fly missions which attract reimbursement of the actual operating costs of theaircraft.

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