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ZenHh CH 200D-New Trainer • Civil Air Patrol

Reprinted with permission of Private Pilot Magazine®


The Civil Air Patrol is more than uniforms Story and photos by Mike Roberts

men tropical storm Alberto drenched Georgia with record-breaking rains that brought floods misery and death the CAP responded bJ' land and air.


T ROA . and the long roOI11 adjacent LO the airport ramp i, crowded with people preparing for \ ar. Adult and teen-agers uniformed in 1I collection of green-camouflaac and blue uniform. stand at ell e but alert. It'~ a.m. and the warm June day woull make for good sleeping, but yawn. are abseru. E eryone listening,

In the middle of the sen of soldicr! attire are men talking ab ut refu lina procedures. operations time. cornmunicaiion frequencie. -and . afet . Listeners are reminded 1 .l \ their caps

n the ramp lest headgear foul a prop or engine.

They're told about tower, thut could cat an UI1\ ary pilot" airplane.

Th n after a waming=-t'Dcnt do nothin' dumb"-Ihcy're dismissed and Ihe) scatter ome head for trucks and airplanes, s me I the radio room upstairs, while still others sit d WIl to paperwork and planning h urd .

The date was June I . I 94. the place wus Briscoe Field nonheast of Atlanta and the people in uniform, \ ere about 60 members of Civil Air Patrol unit. from a 'I' )!>~ Northern Georgia. They and their counterparts in ther I() alii n~

Typical of frequent CAP exercises a CAP Cessna taxies out of Briscoe Field, Georgia to survey simulated hurricane damage during a training exercise.

ucross the SIUle wer preparing I fight the disustrous aftermath of a hurricane-s-a mock one.

The dtl wen! well for the P' e rgia

ing, The ir Force. which ritiqued the exercise. gave the wing II grade of "excellent:'

The: ulfnir was a timely dr ~s rehearsal-the actual perf rmunce came about IWO \ eek. later, when tr pical . torrn Alberto drenched G orglu with record-breaking ruins that brought flood . misery and death. The P responded by land and air. It brought ational Guard tr op. I the afflicted ureas and unloaded supplies, il set up xhelters for I eople displaced by the floods, it 'e11l a team t in peel a threatened dam and it conducted ucriul . urvey, of damage.

The air and ground IcaU1S, ull unpaid volunleers like ther AP members, did their jobs without any major problems. Participants could be corncm with a job well-done and the sari: fuclion of having helped others in need. They had to he. r r they g I lillie recogniii n outside their organization.

BU[ that's not unusual. Member' only halfjokingl refer to UlI! CPa' ne of mencu s I est-kept secret. . II gets scant anent i n from the new media. even a lot f pilots don't know 0 it, or they misunderstand what it is. what it does and h \ it doe it.

THE CIVIL IR P TROL is (I war baby. born the Monday before the attack on Pearl Harb I' plunged the nited late. into W rid Ww' II. An act f Congress gave the CAP life and several purposcs. one f which seemed to ant icipuic the nation', ern into World War 11: Help d .velep

merican a iation and air, upremucy.

Other objcct i ves were more pe acefu I:

Enc uragc i il aviation in I cal ommunitics devel p v luntary c ruributioru or private cilizens to tile public welfare. provide aviation edu-

carion and training and help meet national and local emergencies.

Among the CAP'. lir I mi si HI!. under thai charter was helping fight erman : ubrnarines. By 194_. Nazi -boats were ranging the length r th Ea~ICf11 eaboard and Gulf Coar r, sinking an alarming number r merchant ship. \ ith lorpedoe: and annon lire.

t first. the CAP's light aircraft were used dcfcnsi ely. They flew 0 er shipping lanes. reporting any prowling, ubs as well us floundering merchant ships and struggling suitors. Later.

The Civil Air Patrol needs pilots and non-pilots alike to carry out non-flying tasks, such as coordinating pilots, aircraft and search areas.

The cockpits of CAP aircraft, such as this Cessna 172, are just like other civil aircraft. Dlrectlon·flndlng equipment is panel-mounted, and GPS and loran receivers aid In search navigation.

FEBRUARY 1995 55

it itched to the often ive, the C P equipping

some it.. airplane. with bomb .. depth charge and jury-rigged b mb ight: to harass [he Germans.

The AP \ a credited with spouing 17 .ubs, bombing or depth-charging 57 and inking or damaging at least lWO. (H wever, ne CAP member in Massachu etts disputed the sinkings. In a Illes 'age. ent to other aviation enthusiast: via a computer bulletin board in 1991. he claimed that his checks of U.S. and German rec rd r sub 'inking led him t helieve that "what i written into AP hi t ry is probably nothing more Ulan conjecture.")

But the AP s value in at lea. 1 bothering the

ubs was recognized in high places. "It should be noted thar for ne period-at the. tart of the war-this CAP wa: the only agency that was able to take an real action toward controlling the .ubmarine menace," wrote former General

r the rmy Hap Arnold in the I 4 bo k Flying Minute Men: The Story of Civil Air Patro}.

The CAP did rn re than hunt submarine .

During the war. it new an aerial-courier service ~ r the armed force. and defense plant. , towed targets for anti-aircraft gunner and flev airb m -sentry duty along the Mexican b rder, It als did trictly peaceful work. u h a~ sp tting forest Iires, airlifting supplie and finding IOSl airplanes.

In 1943. th P wa. put und r til .onuol

of the Army Air Force, the f rerunner of the Air Force. In 1946. the CAP received a federal charter thut xtended the rgunizutiou's life beyond that r ther wartime volunteer gr ups and. et it up a: a benevolent ci vilian corpora-

Berg lright) and Major C~P Lt. Cot. Tomht for a training mission. EriC Berg pre. fIIg the CAP accident

gramS keep

Safety pro eral aviation'S.

rate lower than gen

CAP cadet Mike Knox demonstrates use of a portable ELT direction finder to other cadets in the Cobb County Georgia, composite squadron.


ti n. In 1948. CAP became the official HU iliary of the Air Force.

ITHIT HEADQUARTERS at Max v ell Air F rce Base ncar Montgomery, labama. today's P comprises 52 wings. one in each stale, one in Wa shington, D. .. and one in Pu 'rt Ric. Those winos contain about 170() individual unit: operating more than -00 CAPowned aircraft. -000 pri at Iy wned aircraft and 900 . upp rt vehicle .. Membership as or

pril 1994 was nearly 19,000 cadets, ranging in age from 13 to _I. and 34.000 adult members.

Though their numbers have dr pped since the war, v hen membership swelled to more than 100.000, toduy's P seniors and cadets share an ani rude with their predece .sors: cnthusia rn.

AP LI. 01. B njamin Stone, a rated commercial pit I for 60 years. j incd immedlatcl after Pearl Harbor, Why has he stayed active in the AI' this long? "For me. it's a way or SUI - ing young. stu ing viable. keeping interested. and becaus I'm a patriotic mericun."

Ist U. Preston . ev ell joined four ears ago with u rreJ h private license to learn more about flying anti search and n:scue." P is very challenging and gives you. ornetlung to do with your fl ing that' ery productive."

. did their counterparts during Workl WarII. member. still \ eur uniform .. at least 011 some occasions. They 110 longer Ullock submarines. but they d occur ... ionally help patrol the nation's borders. orne members. after receiving. pecial learanccs an I training. fI, reconnaissance rni ions for the Drug Enforce-

CAP Lt. Col To B

prefll ..... t . m erg tackles 6" paperWork a

aspect of f1yf I ' necessary ng n the CAP U

are also required h . nlforms

aIrcraft. w en flying CAP

ment Administration and U .. Fore ,t Scrice. AP member help support ther rganizaiions, uch as the Federal Emergency Management Agency (and .irnilar agencies in individual states), the FAA, the Red roo s the Salvation Army and the Defen e Department.

The CAP still conducts aerial searches for lost aircraft and their occupants, The Air Force hasn't taken over that operation. partly because it ha. no aircraft [hat can fly as low, as 'low and as inexpensi ely a. the CAP'. Iightplanes, said Lt. Col. Jim Belzer, commander of the Rome, Georgia composite squadron.

"Think of it thi. way:' Belzer explained, "if the Air Force had t 10 the same thing we're doing. it would O.t taxpayers millions of dollars ju t to get cvcrybod together."

hour. and 120 live. saved. But CAP ha. two other missions. One is aerospace education- preading the word about aviation and 'pace in. ide and outs ide the organization. The AP develops educational materials that <Ire used to tea h aerospace subject in U.S. chools. The CAP also help. sponsor workshops HI colleges and universities. where teachers learn to teach ubjcct related to aerospace. In addition, AP is a cospon. or with the FAA and A A. or the

ational ongress on A iation and pace Education.

III 1992! CAP members [leu: 1 30,000 hours u'itb all accident rate of 1.54 per 100,000 hours.

CAP' THIRD MI I i its cadet program, a virtual organizaiion \ ithin an organization thut teaches teenagers and young adults about aerospace, leadership. phy ical Iitness and rnilitar custom' lind courtesies.

udets move through the program and rise in rank by passing a . erie. of teps that arc heavily aviation-oriented.


AP is =v

challenging and gives )lOll something to do uiitb yonrflying that's very prodllcti·ve."

Technology ha made search-and-rescue flying en .ier than it wa in 1941. LT signals from downed airplanes an be picked up by orbiting. utell ite: and rcluj ed to ground monitoring stations. then m u the AP. And the presen 'C of loran and GP in the .ockpit helps pil t~ and crews :1l1)' in their u. signed. earch sector and navigate precise] within those sectors ee sidebar, p. 60' .

nfortunarcly ~ I' P members and

everyone eL e in olved. ELTs don't I!O off ( nly wh 11 era hes occur and cc~pants need to be fund. Major John Martin, c mrnand r r the Cobb OUIll. Georgia. cornpo itc quadran. told of one incident ill which a pilot crushed near his private air trip but walked uwu unharmed. He apparerul didu' I think about the ELT. The AP found ut, though. and e eruuull found him. afcly at hom" in b d.

Other unnecessar searches result from ELTs eing set ff by hard landings and even by dropping the airstairs on corporate aircraft. AP members arc quick to tres that pilot chc k their LT after every niuht.

The. e perati ns urc purt or A P's emergency services mis 'ion, which. in 1993, accounted for nearly 35.000 night

Cadet can attend night-training programs lit ir For c base .. pilot rmy helicopter simulat rs and (like their senior unterpurts) fl in milltury air .. craft to and from slime P functions.

udcts can punicipate in vuriou activitic .. including the l nternutionul Air Exchange program, which allows them t vi 'it a foreign c untrv, The can also compete for a aderni and 11 ing scholarships aJ1(1 test their knowledge. skill and fitness against that 01 cadet peers from other regi ns.

Given that the new media focus on the nrunge. the coruroversial and the tragic. perhaps the C P's low public proIlk il> a c implimcru m the wa it does things, It. Ilight op rations are far safer thnn general aviation's lI~ a wht le- e sn safer than the Air rce's. In 199_ the

P': safest year ever. member. Ilew 130,000 hour. \ ith lin a .cidcnt rate or 1.54 per 100.000 hour', according 10

AP figures. The same year. those fiaures sh wed a general aviation accide71t rare of 7,14 und an ir rcc accident rate f 1.65.

But that doesn't mean the AP like anonymity, They're working on gelling the word out.

he Air Force hasn t taken over CAPs search-andrescue mZSSt01Z partly because it has no aircraft that can fly as low as slow and as inexpensively as the CAPJs ligbtplanes.


Straight Answers to Questions about CAP

HERE ARE SOME of the question most Irequenily asked of Civil Air Patrol membersand of course, traight answers to same:

• Can you fly for free in the CAP?

If you aOI as pilot in command ln a CAP aircraft on search-and-rescue or other official busine 'S, you don't pay for your night lime. If you fly a CAP aircraft for search-and-rescue proficiency. Y0U pay For maintenance and fuel, [f you tly your own plane on certain military. federal, tate or humanitarian mission" you are reimbursed For fuel. oil and maintenance.

Membership in CAP can qualify you to join

orne military I~ying club. which can save you money on l1ighl time compared to renting from nn FHO. You can't, however, use CAP aircraft imply Iorpteasurc or personal-business Ilights.

• Can you earn your private license through the CAP?

If you're a senior (adult) member. no. U' you're a cadet (teenager or young adult), you gel up 10 six orientation flights, You can also qualify for a solo scholarship that will pay for the aircraft and instructor through your first solo (you pay for Iuel). Through a irnilar program. eniors can [ualify for advanced ratings.

• Must you have a pilot' license to participate in the CAP?

N . The CAP needs volunteer. for many jobs.

Each earch-and-rescue aircraft u. ually carries two crev members besides the pilot: an observer perform navigation and communi arions tasks and looks for targets, It scanner nl a looks for targets. Other volunteers serve on ground team: that ecure crush Ites and in . upp rt role. su h as aircraft mechanic, ground-based rndio operator and publicaffair. officer.

• Does CAP have different levels of pilots'!

Yes. A private pilot with less than 200 hours as pilot in command can qualify as a transport pilot Who Ilie people or cargo in the aircraft in hioh he is checked out; he cannot erve as pilot in command on CAP mi, sions. SUGh as eareh-and-rescue. Privnte pilots with intire than 200 hour as PIC can qualify as mi sian pilots or cadet-orientation pilot: .

• Are there benefits to CAP membership?

Yes. You are overed by aviation, auto find genoral-liability insurance while performing CAP activities. You lire also eligible for federal liability protection and employee compen arion (including disability and survivor benefits) while on Air Forcesanctioned mission. , . uch as carch-and-rescue.

Because the CAP is a federally chartered nonprofit corporation. you can claim tax deduction for membership dues. uniforms. training material '. OUIof-pocket expenses incurred during CAP activities and an automobile allov unce or 12¢ per mile.

You can order aircraft parts at a discount [rom the AP. upply lepot in Amarillo. Texas. When traveling by rental car, you ure eligible ton pecial CAP rates, YOLI can also join the credit union at

CAP headquarter: at Maxwell Air Force Base ncar Montgomery. Alabama.

Cadet: who earn the Billy Mitchell Award (halfway up lhe ladder of cadet uchicvemcrus) can enlist in Ihe Air Force, ir Force Re erve or Air aiional Guard at a higher pay scale than other enli te s,

• What kinds of Hying can you do?

Besides search-and-rescue and cadet-orieuuuion missions. you can transport blood and human tissue for the Red Cross, aid civil-defense and dl. asterrelief operations and carry government officials. If you meet requirements, you can Ily urveillance and drug-interdiction missions for the l.l.S. Customs Service. Fore t ervice lind the Drug Enforcement Administration. CAP pllots do not, however, confront person suspected of illegal acti hies,

• What kind of training is required to Oy with the CAP?

It depends on the kind of flying you'Il be doing and in which airplane you'll be doing it. Basically, you need mstruction and CAP checkrides for every type of mission you lly, As the flying becomes more demanding, s d the [mining and checkout rcqui reo rnents. You must check out in the Iype of CAP aircraft you intend to Ily. This involves un initial written test and a night check. plus annual follow-ups.

One thing you don't need is <In instrument rating. because most CAP flying is YFR.

• Do you have to wear a unifonn?

S nior member, IllLlSI wear uniforms when working with P cadets or flying AP aircruft. lf you meet Air Force uandards for weight and gr oming, you may wear the Air Force's dark-blue pam and light-blue shin with the AP's maroon epaulet .. You can also wear other approved uniforms. such u. a blue CAP jumpsuit.

• What are membership requirements?

Ttl join the CAP. you must be either a U.S. .iuzen or an alien admitted for permanent residence. and you must nOI have ever been convicted of a felony, a sexual oflcn e or child ubu ie. Lf ou were u member OJ the U.S. military, you mUSI have been honorably di charged,

There is II one-time $50 fee to join, plus annual dues; local unitsmay charge nominal dues .

You ran join the CAP by contacting the unit nearest you. Check your airport to see if there is one in y ur area. or look in the federal government seclion of your telephone book. You can also write rhe CAP national headquarters at 105 . Hansell St., Bldg. 714. Maxwell FB. AL 36112-6332.

• Are there any age restrictions?

You must be al least 13 years old or have linI. hed ixth grade 10 join as a cadet. The maximum age to enter the cadet program i 18, which is ill' the minimum age to become :1 scni r member. Youth can remain cadets until age 21. when they must ither become. enior member or leav . the organization. -MR

Mou.ntains obstruct or block ELT signals. A satellite may receive a signal but search teams may not pick it up until they are virtually right over it especially if the 'wreckage is in a canyon.


lower terrain. Like a ailplane pilot, look for orographic lift coming from air Ilowing upslope. Flying with the wind. look for rotors or downdrafts after eros ing a ridge: maintain at lear t the maximum-rate-of-climb airspeed. Flying against the wind. look for rotors or downdraft: wh n approaching the ridge. The 45° approach lea es a way out if wind or power problem. force you toward a ridge.

Fly down canyons and he sure you have a way out. Fly the updraft 'ide, not the middle or downdraft side, 0 you can benefit from orographic lift and. if a I 0° [Urn i. required. it will be into the wind to horten the tum radius.

Mountain Searching With the CAP

The earch

In visual searches. the re cue crew COrTIUlll th four grid comers to erify their location. Becau. e mountains ob. truer VORfDM' signals and loran can be intermittent, the most reliable navigation instruments are a pair of 20/_0 "mark-one eyeballs' and u sectional. GP will eventually be phased i1110 AP aircraft. but r r now. pilotage i. the bottom line.

Electronic earche are difficult because mountains obstruct or block ELT Signals. A

atclUte may recei ea. ignal. but. earch team. may 1101 pick il up until rhej are virtually over it, especially if the wreckage is in a canyon. A signal reflecting off the side of a mountain or canyon (it sometime. cause multiple signals) compounds the problem or pinpointing a target.

In visual w rk. if there i~ a mountain peak in the grid. the search begins rom th top and continue, with a contour search down around it. The plane is flown in a descending ipiral around the mountain. In a c ntour . earch, . canning i. only one-wa -in the dire tion r Ih p ak,

I r above the timberline. scanning. can be to the side and dov n. 11 is virtually impos ible to ice wreckage at an angle thr ugh trees, s at or belov the timberline. 'canning L nearly straight down in order to look directly into the fore t to the floor belov .

Multiple passe. down a anyon may be required to thorough! search it. Riying down a canyon or around a mountain take' less time than climbing back to the t p. In mountains, the time. pent in the actual search il usually Ie . than the positioning time. Therefore, mountain searches take more time than flat-land icarche .

On average, mountain 'arch-and-re. cue flights in Colorado take longer. are more risky, have more communication and na igation problems and have a law r probability or detection than Ilat-Iand scarche •. While thi work rna sound exciting. none of it would be necessary if not for ih need I search I' r people in distre s. And that is what i iI Air Patrol ernergen y. rvices are all about. -Frank Gose ~

THE CIVJL AIR PATROL Emergency Service mi sion i to conduct .earchand-rescue. di a ter-relief and other mission. for public assistance. In Colorado, where that mission is greatly affected by the rugged Rocky Mountains, the CAP hal> special upplcmental regulation for mountain flying.

Flat-Land Searches

From the foothills of rile Rockies to the Kan as/Nebra ka border, the eastern half f Colorado is flat. Surface elevation' range from 5000 to 350() feel MSL Ln electronic searche •. a skilled ere can isolate a signal fairl quickly: but when there i no ELT ignal, vi. ual . earches arc fl wn on preplanned track. over the search area. The distance between these tracks is one or two mile. depending on th search object. altitude. vi lbility, weather condltiens and nm po: ition. Probability of detection i. high.

Mountain Searches

The western half of Colorado rises abruptly 10 the west of a line that run. from Ron Collins through Denver to Pueblo. There are more than 50peak in that part or the nate that rise to 14.000 feet M, L. The area is heavily forested. and many rnountain passe are in the 11.000- foot range. above the timberline. While the terrain Ialls off to the west and become les. f rested. it remains rugged and uneven all the way to the Utah border. where it is appro imateIy 70(X) f el MSI.. There are few nat area, so the probability of detection goes d wn.

In the Rockies. high density altitudes affect takeoff and landing .. a well as crui: e and search perf rrnance. A varier f e treme wind ionditions can exit t: morning and evening \ ind in canyons. up- Of down-slope winds. \ ind a r s ridges. rographic lift. r t rs, etc, Short, rough, one-way runway and i y surfac in the winter are nOI uncornrn n. Poor, minimal communication and navigation reception are also ornmon.

e . na 182 arc n rrnally laded 10 their max gros: weigh I with a crew of three. plus SUfvi al gear. hort/soft-Iield takeoff and landing are common. <l!> are one-wa runway .. As a rei ult, uo-aroundi can be extremely dangerou: and are not recommended. Crosswinds, tailwinds. high den. ity auirude and occa ional high relative humidities worsen airport operation '. Flight plan. WiU1 30-minule check-in, are a standard operating procedure. Communications are us uall relayed lhr ugh ~l communication. bird that circles high r ~ relay to the. earch bu. e.

Enr utc, nigh I is well above the terrain, and ridge are approached at 45° angles. Po. ition the aircraft so that. in the event of a complete p wer failure, a 90" tum ric .. all ws a descent 10

Sharing the best kept secret in aviation.

For more information, call or write one of the following:

CAP Unit Locator: 1-800-FLY-2338 Public Affairs: (334) 953-4287

National Headquarters Civil Air Patrol

105 South Hansell Street, Bldg. 714 Maxwell AFB, AL 36112-6332

HOCAp(93-J10ll10 1M

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