Civil Air Patrol EAA
Madison, Wis.: Under the direction of the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center (AFRCC), Wisconsin Wing Civil Air Patrol (CAP) conducted a highly successful Precautionary Search and Rescue (SAR) mission from Thursday, July 21 – Monday, August 1 in support of the EAA AirVenture Fly-in being held at Wittman Field, Oshkosh, Wis.
The world’s largest fly-in draws approximately 10,000 aircraft into Oshkosh and its surrounding airports annually. With approximately 140 personnel assigned daily, the mission tasked assignments included 31 searches for overdue aircraft, a figure which is down slightly from last year. A total of six Civil Air Patrol aircraft flew 19 Precautionary Air Patrols (PAP) logging an excess of 50 hours of flight as they monitored for electronic locator transmitter’s (ELT) signals. A reported fourteen ELTs were heard and silenced, doubling last year’s number. The PAP flights were very active this year as the aircrew heard ELT’s while air borne on about 40% of the flights.
Ground teams and supporting air crew were placed strategically around the 35 mile radius of Wittman Regional Airport in order to facilitate a quick response should an emergency have arisen.
While on a PAP flight, the flight crew heard an ELT north of Manitowoc. The aircrew determined the source to come from a small grass runway at the Miller Antique Airfield. After the crew made a few low passes over the area to verify said source, the transmitter went silent, making it unnecessary for the ground team to deploy.
On another PAP flight, a CAP aircrew heard a mayday over the radio and responded quickly. Upon receiving a secure line in which to communicate through Milwaukee Approach, within minutes the crew spotted a yellow piper cub in Lake Winnebago in Fond du Lac County. They provided the coordinates to the Federal Aviation Administration and continued assisting the agencies on the scene before continuing their patrol of the skies in search of ELTs.
Blue Beret, a National Cadet Special Activity held annually at Wittman Regional Airport, helps Wisconsin with emergency services as part of their two week activity. Not only did they provide assistance with ramp checks and ELT finds, they also assisted in securing the site around the Navy’s F-16 fighter jet after it ran off the end of the runway during an afternoon air show as well as provided assistance when the Ford Tri-motor had a tire problem.
On the last day the incident base was up and fully functional with 15 staff & support personnel along with the aircraft, and ground teams. The Mobile Command Center monitored all communications within the mission as well as watched the weather for any approaching storms which always adds excitement.
There are many agencies that we work together with to make this Precautionary SAR a great success; FAA, Lockhead Martin Flight Service, Coast Guard and their Auxiliary, EAA, Air Force, AFRCC, Wisconsin Emergency Management (WEM), National Guard, airport managers at the four airports as well as county and local law enforcement.
Lieutenant Colonel Dean Klassy, project officer, had this to say about this year’s mission, “This has been a very unusual but productive year. I have been involved in the EAA precautionary SAR for over 15 years and this was one of the busiest.”
Coordinating the twelve day event, Klassy stated “I am looking forward to EAA SAR 2012; mark your calendars for July 20 to July 31, 2012”
Civil Air Patrol, the official auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force, is a nonprofit organization with more than 61,000 members nationwide. CAP, in its Air Force auxiliary role, performs 90 percent of continental U.S. inland search and rescue missions as tasked by the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center and was credited by the AFRCC with saving 113 lives in fiscal year 2010. Its volunteers also perform homeland security, disaster relief and drug interdiction missions at the request of federal, state and local agencies. The members play a leading role in aerospace education and serve as mentors to the more than 26,000 young people currently participating in CAP cadet programs. CAP has been performing missions for America since 1941 and celebrates its 70th anniversary this December. It is a major partner with Wreaths Across America, an initiative to remember, honor and teach about the sacrifices of U.S. military veterans. For more information on Civil Air Patrol, visit www.gocivilairpatrol.com or www.capvolunteernow.com. For Wisconsin Wing information, please visit http://wiwgcap.org.
Photos taken by: Captain Jeri Gonwa, CAP
Public Information Officer
Photo #1: Cadet Staff Sergeant Cory Tilton, Racine Composite Squadron, performs an hourly emergency locator transmitter (ELT) check at the Outagamie County Regional Airport, Appleton, Wis., with the help of an elper.
Photo #2: Keeping logs of the planes helps the FAA determine if a flight plan has been closed or if the plane is late on arrival. Cadet Staff Sergeant Christopher Bredow, Col. R.C. Jay Memorial Composite Squadron, Watertown, Wis., uses the binoculars to see the tail numbers of planes utilizing Seaplane Base on Lake Winnebago.