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Sun, Mar 28, 2010

Minnesota Wing Aircrews Pile Up Flying Hours In Flood Response

ARCHER System Gathering Hi-Resolution Aerial Images Of Flooded Areas

Aircrews from the Minnesota Wing of Civil Air Patrol, an auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force, have accumulated more than 100 hours of high-tech flying time in recent days, supporting disaster relief efforts in the Red River Valley.

Maj. Doug Ployhar Operates Civil Air Patrol's ARCHER System

"Minnesota Wing has a reputation of excellence and providing a strong response when called upon. This has been demonstrated repeatedly during the Red River flooding," said Maj. Paul Pieper, Minnesota Wing's emergency services director and incident commander for the wing's ongoing flood response missions.

As of Tuesday, the bulk of the wing's flying time has been dedicated to Civil Air Patrol's expanding ARCHER operations in Minnesota and North Dakota. Twenty CAP members from Minnesota Wing have taken part in 33 flights in support of Airborne Real-time Cueing Hyperspectral Enhanced Reconnaissance, or ARCHER, which produces high-resolution aerial images that are assisting state and federal emergency management officials in their assessment of flood damage.

"Aircrew training prior to deployment and supporting the ground teams were good missions for our pilots and their crews since the demand for CAP's ARCHER system increased," said Pieper. "Our pilots were training, reviewing tasks and completing skills needed for aerial imaging in anticipation of the flooding."
 
In the early days of the disaster relief effort, from March 3-17, wing members took part in 11 air sorties totaling 16 flying hours as the wing ramped up its preparations for flood response missions based in the Fargo-Moorhead, MNs, area. In all, 35 wing volunteers worked the preparation flights, accumulating 210 personnel hours.

Mission tempo increased when ground teams from across Minnesota were dispatched to the area on March 16, assisting with sandbagging and dike building efforts. Reports from North Dakota Wing indicate that more than 30 dwellings in the two cities were saved due to CAP's ground team efforts.
The ground team portion of the mission involved 85 members who provided more than 3,000 hours of service. Aircrews flew five sorties totaling 13 flying hours in direct support of the ground team efforts.

The Minnesota Wing consists of 23 squadrons located in every area of the state, with more than 1,300 members and 17 light aircraft. The wing routinely flies thousands of hours per year of operational flights and contributes some 10,000-plus hours to search and rescue, counterdrug, disaster preparedness, homeland security and other humanitarian mission flying.

FMI: www.gocivilairpatrol.com

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