It's been a busy month for BSU's Civil Air Patrol (CAP) Senior Squadron. First, members participated in a state-wide search and rescue exercise, serving as mission pilots, observers, and scanner trainees. During such exercises, CAP volunteers from across the state conduct simulated disaster relief and damage assessment missions and ensured that CAP personnel are prepared to respond to events such as Hurricane Sandy and the recent snowstorm, Nemo.
Squadron members also participated in an airborne photography class, and the unit took possession of one of the Civil Air Patrol's aerial camera and data processing kits for use during training sorties and actual missions. In the future, the equipment will be used to assist in aerial surveys for disaster relief and damage assessment missions.
This month, aircrew members also participated in U.S. Department of Homeland Security missions which have been code-named "Fertile Keynote." During those exercises, a CAP aircraft acts as a target for simulated air-to-air interception. F-15 Eagle fighter aircraft assigned to the USAF 104th Fighter Wing conduct intercepts, which serve as training exercises for the pilots as well as military and civilian control & response agencies.
Also several mission scanner trainees from the squadron completed training as students of the first Massachusetts Wing Mission Aircrew Academy class. They will be among those honored during a graduation ceremony while attending the upcoming annual Wing Conference. The first of its kind in the Northeast Region of Civil Air Patrol, the academy is designed to provide qualification training for mission scanners and observers in a structured, blended-format that includes live, webinar-based classes and face-to-face practical application sessions at the BSU Aviation Training Center at New Bedford Regional Airport. . Both the mission observer and scanner play vital roles in any search or relief effort. In the future, the Academy is expected to provide training to CAP aircrew candidates from across the commonwealth and throughout New England.
Lastly, BSU senior squadron was assigned an aircraft from the Civil Air Patrol fleet. The distinctive red-white-and-blue Cessna 172R-model airplane is now stationed at the BSU Aviation Training Center. One of six assigned to the Massachusetts CAP fleet, the aircraft will be available for training purposes and deployment during CAP missions.
"The significant aspect of this milestone is that, during the brief period the squadron has been in operation, it has earned the level of trust that allowed Civil Air Patrol leaders to base an airplane worth more than $300,000 here," said BSU squadron Commander Lt. Col Robert McManus. (Story and photo submitted by Loren Herren, BSU Aviation)