Civil Air Patrol supports EAA AirVenture, Air Force assigned mission opened
Oshkosh, Wis. –Under the direction of the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center, Wisconsin Wing Civil Air Patrol opened an Air Force assigned mission. The 17 day mission, lasting through August 8, is in support of the EAA AirVenture being held at Wittman Regional Airport in Oshkosh, Wis. With a half million visitors and 10,000 aircraft visiting the event, it is dubbed the world’s largest fly-in.
Explaining the main mission of CAP for this event, Lieutenant Colonel Dean Klassy, project officer and incident commander for the mission, said “One of our major missions is to follow up on Federal Aviation Administration reports of overdue aircraft on Visual Flight Rules flight plans to Oshkosh.”
Members create a data base of the tail numbers of thousands of planes as they arrive and leave the surrounding airports within a 50 mile radius in and around Wittman Regional Airport. Other mission tasks include ramp checks for overdue aircraft, search for onsite emergency locator transmissions, electronic and visual search for delayed aircraft and precautionary air patrols monitoring for ELT signals.
“Some pilots forget to close their flight plans upon arrival” said Klassy. “This warrants a call from the FAA to try to locate the plane. Once the plane is located, the FAA can close the flight plan being assured the pilot has arrived at his destination safely. If the plane is not found, a search commences by CAP ground teams and aircrews.”
By checking the logs and physically verifying if a plane has arrived, it saves countless hours of manpower. In order to facilitate a quick response should an emergency arise, ground teams and air crews are placed strategically around the surrounding area.
“Once up and fully functional, CAP will have more than 200 members, along with five aircraft watching for potential problems. At the 2012 EAA mission, the volunteer members logged over 20,000 man-hours in support of the mission at Appleton, Fond du Lac, Oshkosh and Seaplane base” Klassy explained. “They come together once a year to support the aviation community and help ensure the safety of all those who attend.”
The Wisconsin Wing Civil Air Patrol with over 900 volunteer members has three missions: Aerospace Education, Cadet Programs and Emergency Services. It is their emergency services that have the most impact on the community. Searching by land and air for a missing person or aircraft, as well as helping in disaster relief efforts; shows that CAP is a valuable resource to the local community and the country.