Members of Civil Air Patrol’s Ohio and Indiana wings will take to the skies today, four days before the Super Bowl, as part of the Continental U.S. North American Aerospace Defense Command Region-1st Air Force’s exercise preparing fighters to protect the airspace around Indianapolis’ Lucas Oil Stadium, site of the football championship game.
Civil Air Patrol‘s Deepwater Horizon Response has surpassed 10,000 volunteer hours and 1,000 hours of flight time providing aerial oil spill reconnaissance along the Gulf Coast. As the official auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force, CAP pilots fly the coastline daily to monitor and document oil control efforts, while scanners onboard take photos of booms deployed along the shoreline. The images, as many as 3,000 each day, provide valuable information to agencies managing the response.
This spill response is CAP’s biggest mission since World War II, when civilian pilots who founded the organization used their own aircraft to keep German U-boats away from America’s East and Gulf coasts. To date, CAP aircrews have launched 497 sorties and logged 1,099 flight hours. In all, 239 CAP volunteers have put in 10,361 hours in support of the mission.
A question I recently found in my e-mail inbox intrigues me. “So how do we, as aviators, get the general population to engage?” Steve, from Midway, Georgia, poses this query. And in doing so he puts his finger on what is arguably the greatest challenge to pilots and aviation enthusiasts in the political arena. Because without engaging the public at large we are little more than a minority splinter group that appears to insist on special treatment.
More often than not, that’s the public perception of us. Fortunately, we can change that.
The easiest way for us to make a pro-aviation impact is on a personal basis, one-on-one. [Read more...]