Wisconsin Wing Supports EAA AirVenture
Madison, Wis. – Under the direction of the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center, Wisconsin Wing Civil Air Patrol (CAP) is conducting an Air Force Search and Rescue (SAR) mission from July 18 – August 1 in support of the EAA AirVenture Fly-in being held at Wittman Regional Airport in Oshkosh, Wis.
The mission task assignments include ramp checks for overdue aircraft, search for onsite emergency locator transmissions (ELTs), electronic and visual search for missing aircraft and precautionary air patrols monitoring for ELT signals.
Explaining the main mission of CAP during this event, Lt. Col. Dean Klassy, project officer for the mission, stated “One of our major missions is to follow up on Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reports of overdue aircraft on Visual Flight Rules (VFR) flight plans to Oshkosh.”
Members create a data base of all tail numbers of the planes as well as where they are parked. Some pilots forget to close their flight plans upon arrival thus sparking a call from the Federal Aviation Administration to CAP to try to locate the plane. Once the plane is located the FAA will close the flight plan.
Checking the logs and physically verifying by sight if a plane has arrived, saves countless hours of manpower. If the plane is not found, a search by ground teams and aircrew ensues.
Gusts of winds or a hard landing can set off an ELT. If the air traffic control tower or a CAP plane flying overhead hears it, grounds teams set out to locate the plane. When found, additional efforts are made to contact the owner of the plane in order to shut off the signal.
Ground teams at Seaplane Base also work with the Coast Guard by logging in the planes that land on Lake Winnebago.
Ground teams and supporting air crew will be placed strategically around the surrounding area in order to facilitate a quick response should an emergency arise.
According to Klassy, “Weather may have a major impact on operations this year. In the past we have had to deal with too much water. This year we have not had enough water and are dealing with extreme high temperatures.”The pattern continues to go through the heart of the Appleton, Oshkosh and Fond du Lac this summer, showing cause for concern during the world’s largest aircraft fly-in.
“The incident bases once up and fully functional, will have about 300 staff & support personnel along with 4 air craft and 5 ground teams. At the 2011 EAA SAR, the volunteer members of CAP log over 20,000 man-hours to help support the mission. These members work at Appleton, Fond du Lac and Oshkosh airports as well as Seaplane base.
“While visiting the AirVenture grounds at Wittman Regional Airport, you will see many CAP members. However it is only about half of those involved who are working on the mission. The rest of the members are at other area airports, working as one big team” stated Klassy. “They come together once a year to support the aviation community and help ensure the safety of all those who attend.”
Wisconsin Wing’s Mobile Command Center (MCC) monitors all communications within the mission as well as monitoring the weather for any approaching storms.
The Wisconsin Wing Civil Air Patrol with its 1,000 volunteer members has three missions: Aerospace Education, Cadet Programs and Emergency Services. It is emergency services that have the most impact on the community.
Most recently Wisconsin Wing supported the Minnesota Wings during the search for a missing aircraft. Providing mission staff, ground teams and aircraft, a missing aircraft search is just one aspect of what CAP is capable of. Searching by both land and air for a missing person or aircraft as well as helping in disaster relief efforts; shows that CAP is a valuable resource for our country.