AURORA, Ore. -- Dodging rain showers, the Civil Air Patrol's Oregon Wing members are conducting reconnaissance flights Saturday as river levels in the state threaten to rise above their banks.
The Oregon Wing used the flooding photography mission as a practice exercise for its regularly scheduled Search and Rescue Exercise on March 18. Weather severely restricted operations throughout Oregon. Aircrews in Bend and Medford were not able to fly in the exercise due to weather. Aircraft did not take off from Aurora until after 1:00 pm, when the clouds and rain showers stopped.
A total of 44 highly trained volunteers responded to the three locations to practice search techniques and support base operations.
Simultaneously the Oregon Wing conducted a Ground Team Training near Mill City with more than 40 more adults and teen-aged member cadets. Ground Teams can support the aircrews, zeroing in on a potential location, and can track down emergency signals emitted by aircraft. Ground teams are also trained to search fields, trails and rough terrain looking for lost hikers, or clues leading to crashed aircraft.
Civil Air Patrol can assist county sheriffs in searches, and photographic missions in support of state and federal agencies. Taking photos of potential flooding can help local, county and state emergency agencies in reacting or preparing for flooding. CAP has helped the Oregon Department of Geology and Minerals, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Oregon Aviation Division in recent years.
"We are often challenged by the weather in Oregon," said Lt Col Nick Ham, assistant incident commander for the day. "Our usual season for flying is late spring through mid-fall and can have days were we get no opportunity to fly. We are all here hoping for breaks in the weather, and working on other aspects of training in between."
Civil Air Patrol, is a strategic partner of the U.S. Air Force serving as a member of its Total Force. It is a Congressionally chartered nonprofit organization with 56,000 members nationwide. CAP 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 80 lives a year on average.
Using a fleet of 560 single-engine aircraft, CAP flew 104,500 hours last year. CAP does its work supporting America's communities with emergency response, diverse aviation and ground services, youth development and promotion of air, space and cyber power. The members play a leading role in aerospace education and serve as mentors to nearly 24,000 young people currently participating in CAP cadet programs. CAP has been performing missions for America for 75 years. For more information, visit www.gocivilairpatrol.com.