NewsCovering Louisiana


Civil Air Patrol flying over damaged areas this holiday

Posted at 3:07 PM, Sep 07, 2020

The Civil Air Patrol’s ongoing mission to fly over and photograph the damage Hurricane Laura inflicted on Southwest Louisiana continues through the Labor Day weekend.

Four photography missions were launched Saturday and two on Sunday. Four involved the use of high-tech photo and navigation systems. The other two used conventional camera equipment, they tell KATC.

Using the advanced systems mounted on their Cessna aircraft, Louisiana Wing aircrews flew specific patterns over areas defined by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Their photos will be used by FEMA analysts for that agency’s hurricane recovery activities.

According to the CAP, flying these patterns requires a two-member crew, a pilot and a system operator. The pilot controls direction and altitude while the operator focuses on managing navigation and the camera system. The flights frequently last several hours and require landing to refuel.

An incident management team of professionally trained Louisiana Wing members provides support for the photography flights. They are drawn from all corners of the state. Their actions are directed by an incident commander, whose staff consists of operations coordinators, planners, flight briefers, communicators, logisticians, administrators and general staff assistants, CAP tells KATC.

Lt. Col. Mickey Marchand, an experienced Louisiana Wing incident commander, was in charge over the Labor Day weekend.

“Our aircrews and staff have quickly assimilated the new photo technology and adjusted to the new flying techniques it demands,” Marchand said. “We’ve also handled the conventional aerial photography flights with ease. I’m proud of how well our staff and aircrews have performed.”

Acting as a Total Force partner and the U.S. Air Force auxiliary, CAP is aligned with First Air Force to rapidly respond to nonmilitary threats domestically when tasked in a Defense Support of Civil Authorities capacity to save lives, relieve suffering, prevent property damage and provide humanitarian assistance.

About Civil Air Patrol Established in 1941, Civil Air Patrol is the official auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force and as such is a member of its Total Force. In its auxiliary role, CAP operates a fleet of 560 single-engine Cessna aircraft and 1,944 small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (sUAS) and performs about 90% of continental U.S. inland search and rescue missions as tasked by the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center. Often using innovative cellphone forensics and radar analysis software, CAP was credited by the AFRCC with saving 110 lives in fiscal 2019. CAP’s 60,000 members also perform homeland security, disaster relief and drug interdiction missions at the request of federal, state and local agencies.

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