The Local Civil Air Patrol (CAP) unit in Altus is set to host and sponsor a state-wide training event on Nov. 10 & 11 . Each year, The Oklahoma Wing, headquartered at Tinker AFB in Oklahoma City holds a pilot clinic to keep their pilots’ skills sharp. At least six CAP Cessna 182 and 172 aircraft and approximately 25 aircrew members will descend on Altus on Saturday morning and won’t depart for their home stations until Sunday afternoon.
Civil Air Patrol Major Douglas Winters, Commander of the local CAP Squadron said, “This is a big event! It is just one of several training events the Oklahoma Wing provides for its members. This is especially important because it’s just for aircrew members and each pilot will be afforded the opportunity to fly with a CAP instructor pilot.” This allows pilots to work on certain maneuvers they might have gotten rusty at, or just to improve on those skills they might have learned years ago. “One just doesn’t get that kind of specialized and personal training and attention during a ‘full-blown’ search and rescue exercise” said Winters. “It makes our pilots just that much better.”
The event, which is being co-hosted by the Lawton CAP Squadron, kicks off with a general briefing and a safety briefing Saturday Morning at the Altus-Quartz Mountain Regional Airport. Then it’s down to business with classroom training taking up most of that morning, a break for lunch, and then we will “launch the fleet” said Winters, who is a pilot himself. Flying operations will cease around 5:00 p.m. on Saturday, then start back up around 8 a.m. Sunday morning, and should start winding down about midday that afternoon.
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
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