News

Nov 4, 2013

Civil Air Patrol Aids in CA Tsunami Response


Civil Air Patrol's (CAP) California Wing was ordered to move all of it's aircraft located near sea level on the west coast inland far enough to avoid damage from the potential tsunami generated by the 11-March, magnitude 9.0  earthquake in Japan.
Category: General
Posted by: admin

CONCORD, CA – Civil Air Patrol's (CAP) California Wing was ordered to move all of it's aircraft located near sea level on the west coast inland far enough to avoid damage from the potential tsunami generated by the 11-March, magnitude 9.0  earthquake in Japan.  Very early that morning, CAP Squadron 44 located in Concord, CA  received a request  to move CAP aircraft to higher ground. CAP Captain Chris Suter was tasked with this mission. Suter proceeded to move the aircraft, a CAP Cessna 182, to Livermore Airport where he parked the aircraft. With his mission now complete Suter went on about his day.

 
Capt. Chris Suter Preps The Aircraft For Flight

Later the same morning, Suter received a CAP email, requesting flight crews for recon missions to monitor the tsunami threat at the request of the California Emergency Management Agency (CalEMA). Suter responded and was assigned to fly the CAP aircraft he had earlier parked at Livermore. While Suter was en-route to the plane, a flight crew was also added to the mission. Suter reported to Livermore and was told to standby pending a mission assignment.

The final crew consisted of Mission Pilot (MP) Capt. Suter, Mission Observer (MO) Capt. Luneau and Mission Scanner (MS) 2nd Lt. Pereira. The mission assignment was to fly to the Golden Gate Bridge and then fly south to Monterey following the coast and taking pictures of any significant damage observed.  This included every turn in the coastline, as a result the flight time was considerably longer than flying in a direct line.

The crew flew at 1000 feet and 90 knots, observing significant wave action and a large amount of bottom disturbance in the ocean, but very minimal damage to the coastline.  Each harbor was examined in some detail, although the significant damage in Santa Cruz was not observed, since it was somewhat inland from the coast.  The harbor in the ocean did not appear to sustain any significant damage.

Air Traffic Control (ATC), known locally as NorCal Approach, was extremely cooperative in allowing the flight to maneuver even within the Airport Traffic Area of Monterey with no restrictions which aided in the prosecution of this mission.

After turning around at the Point at Pacific Grove, the crew returned northbound past Santa Cruz and then flew directly to Oakland Airport, where they downloaded the photos and debriefed the mission.  Subsequent to that the crew returned to Livermore.  While the actual mission flying time was 3 hours, total time that day was about 12 hours.   This was a great example of the varied types of missions that the Civil Air Patrol performs for many government agencies throughout the nation.

Civil Air Patrol, the official auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force, is a nonprofit organization with 57,000 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 90 lives in fiscal year 2008. Its volunteers also perform homeland security, disaster relief and counter-drug missions at the request of federal, state and local agencies. The members play a leading role in aerospace education and serve as mentors to more than 22,000 young people currently participating in CAP cadet programs. CAP has been performing missions for America for 67 years. For more information, visit www.gocivilairpatrol.com.


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