Mountain Fury: Extensive ground school course is part of Civil Air Patroland#8217;s Mountain Flying Certification
Special to the Sun
TAHOE/TRUCKEE, Calif. and#8212; Mountain Fury: It sounds like a new X-Games extreme sports competition, or some sort of Norse Gods legend, or maybe the title of my next novel? Itand#8217;s actually a flying training course that teaches volunteer Civil Air Patrol (CAP) aircrew members how to safely tackle the most demanding flight operations in the United States: Lifesaving searches in mountainous terrain.
Two dozen pilots, mission observers, and mission scanners and#8212; the three crew members aboard most CAP search and rescue sorties and#8212; from Reno, Nev., Minden, Nev. and Truckee-Tahoe squadrons met at CAP Nevada Wing headquarters in Reno, Nev. for an extensive ground school course as part of CAP’and#8217; Mountain Flying Certification, known as Mountain Fury. The course is required for CAP mission pilots who operate in mountainous states, and highly recommended for all aircrew members to sharpen their flying skills and knowledge.
and#8220;Searches in CAP mean flying low, slow, and heavy and#8212; exactly the kind of flying we normally try to avoid,and#8221; said Bill Schroeder, master flight instructor, FAA Safety Team member, and CAP check pilot, who led the course. and#8220;Searches in the mountains adds an entirely new and more challenging dimension. Mountain Fury will teach you how to prepare to conduct searches in these more extreme conditions.and#8221;
The six-hour course was broken into three general areas: Mountain flying factors such as weight and balance, flight planning, aircraft performance, and flights in and out of unimproved or high-altitude airfields; CAP mountain search factors, such as dealing with turbulence, downdrafts, unexpected weather, and survival; and CAP mountain searching procedures and strategies, such as how to search steep valleys and mountain ridges and how to escape from potentially dangerous flight paths.
and#8220;As I looked around the room, I was reminded of the level of expertise represented in CAP,and#8221; said Douglas County Composite Squadron commander Brad Spires. and#8220;There were six former Air Force Aviators and two former Naval Aviators. When you combine that with Bill Schroeder, Northern Nevadaand#8217;s only Master Certified Flight Instructor, there is plenty to learn.and#8221;
and#8220;The Mountain flying course is a great introduction or refresher to learn and remind us as pilots and aircrews about the challenges involved in Mountain flying,and#8221; Tim Rochelle, deputy commander of the Douglas County Composite Squadron said. and#8220;I gain a new respect for the challenge as I am reminded of the accident statistics and lessons learned. Staying safe and completing the missions requires us to constantly review techniques, doand#8217;s and donand#8217;ts, due to the effects of altitude and weather on our aircraft. As mission pilots we need continuing education to increase our knowledge and gain additional experience to help us fly safe in the mountains.and#8221;
The next phase of Mountain Fury is for me to strap on a CAP airplane and demonstrate I can do the job, and that will be the subject of another article and#8212; after I accomplish it. Wish me luck!
and#8212; CAP Capt. Dale Brown, Douglas County Composite Squadron, Civil Air Patrol, Minden, Nev. Any questions or for more info, please contact at 775-690-0072.
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. For more information on Civil Air Patrol, visit http://www.gocivilairpatrol.com or http://www.capvolunteernow.com.