The Local Civil Air Patrol (CAP) unit in Altus OK has two brand new pilots to fly their base assigned aircraft. After months of training, CAP 2 Lt Michael Prater and CAP Senior Member James Hill passed their Form 5 check rides to qualify to fly the CAP Cessna 172 based at Altus-Quartz Mountain Regional Airport. This now gives Jackson County Senior Squadron a total of four pilots. Passing the check ride is the first milestone in a Civil Air Patrol pilot’s career. 2Lt Prater and SM Hill must now complete advanced training in order to become mission pilots, which will authorize them to fly actual CAP missions such as air search and rescue, damage assessment, and homeland security missions. In addition to meeting all of the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) requirements, each Civil Air Patrol pilot must also meet CAP criteria. They must also complete an annual check ride to maintain their qualifications and to continue flying CAP aircraft.
“The training and check ride was very challenging, but also very rewarding,” Prater said of his training and subsequent check ride. He and Hill will now begin training to become mission pilots.
Lt Prater is the Flight Chief, Programs & Resources Flight, Maintenance Operations Division, 97 Maintenance Directorate, Altus AFB OK. SM Hill is an active duty USAF Lt Col with the 58th Airlift Squadron, Altus AFB and flies the C-17 Globemaster III aircraft. SM Hill was not available for interviews or pictures, as he was on temporary assignment with the USAF.
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 for 69 years. It is a major partner of 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.muskogeecap.org
The local Civil Air Patrol squadrons are Altus’ Jackson County Senior Squadron which meets on Altus Air Force Base every-other Monday evenings and Lawton’s Comanche-Eagles Composite Squadron, which meets Wednesdays at 6:30 p.m. at LaSill Aviation on the Lawton-Fort Sill Regional Airport. For more information about these two units, please contact Major Doug Winters, (580) 481-8488 in Altus, or Major Steven Kuntz, (580) 678-3981 in Lawton.