Saturday, February 15, 2014

February 2014, Mission Scanner Ground School

By 2d Lt Hollerbach, Photos Courtesy of Maj Luneau and 2d Lt Hollerbach

Capt Edwards Kicking Off the MS Ground School
Last weekend I attended the Mission Scanner (MS) Ground School hosted by Group 2 at SQ188 in Oakland, California.

CAP members from around the Bay Area as well as Sacramento and as far south as San Diego spent two days together, to be trained in becoming Mission Scanners.  The class also included a great mix of backgrounds, including both pilots and non-pilots, as well as both members that were very new to CAP and some that were renewing their existing Scanner certifications.
MS Ground School Class

A few of the topics we covered in class included –
Class Members CAREFULLY Pushing CAP 445 into
Position in the Hangar
  • Scanner duties and missions - whether it's a search and rescue (SAR) mission or an airborne photography mission or something else, the scanner's main job is to... well, scan!  This is the reason the airplane is up in the air on most missions. 
  • Basic aircraft and navigation familiarization - this was particularly helpful to the non-pilots in the class and a good reminder for everyone. 
  • Survival and urgent care issues - we talked about both survival and urgent care issues related to the people we might be searching for on a SAR mission and survival gear for ourselves as air crew. Can you guess what the most important survival tool is if you find yourself in an emergency situation after a crash or other off airport landing?  If you don't know, you'll just have to take the next MS Ground School and find out... 
    Capt Johnson Discussing Grid Searches
  • Air to air and air to ground communications - besides talking about proper communications technique, we took at look at some of the communications equipment we might expect to find in CAP planes, which are not all the same.
  • Weather and how it affects search planning and scanning effectiveness - whether it's fog, smoke, dust, rain, haze, clouds (or lack thereof), the position of the sun, etc., all of these factors impact how effective we are on any given mission. Some of these factors we can work with, others ... sometimes it's best to call it a day and come back later when the weather has changed. 
    Capt Eichelberger, one of the Instructors in the
    Tabletop Exercise
  • High altitude and terrain considerations - not only does high altitude affect aircrew (and survivor on the ground) safety, the presence or absence of higher altitude terrain also impacts search patterns and how best to be effective.  
  • Crew resource management (CRM) - those of us who were not yet Mission Scanners previously gained an appreciation for the intense workload associated with scanning and all other aspects of flying a SAR mission, and learned about aspects of CRM that can help distribute the load and create a safe environment for the aircrew. 

CAP 481 and CAP 445 Used for Training at the
Ground School
The course was taught by Capt Joshua Edwards, 1st Lt Jordan Hayes, Maj Noel Luneau, Capt Ray Woo, Capt Chris Johnson, Maj Chris Suter, and Lt Col Brett Dolnick.

Hands-On Learning in the Tabletop Exercise
The students seemed to agree that the most fun part of the class was the tabletop exercise, where we went to the hangar, learned about the radio and navigational equipment in the two planes (CAP 445 and CAP 481) and planned and discussed a flight to our assigned grid, and the search pattern we would use within the grid. We all practiced planning, using the information we were briefed with, a sectional chart, and all the skills we had just learned.  We also demonstrated scanning techniques, as well as logging data and operating the radios.

Happily, everyone passed the test, and we have a brand new batch of almost-Scanners.  OK, that’s not an official term, but we are now better educated Mission Scanner Trainees.  Next, we need to complete our Scanner training by participating in one of the upcoming exercises and put all of our learning to good use in hands-on, in the air practice.

Graduates of the Mission Scanner Ground School

Sunday, February 9, 2014

February 2014, All Hands Meeting

Blog and Photos by Lt Col Juan Tinnirello, CAP, Sq. 188 PAO 
Squadron 188 All Hands Meeting

Deputy Jeffrey Taylor from the Oakland Airport Sheriff Department 

Deputy Taylor and Maj Riebli
During the All Hands safety meeting, Deputy Taylor made a presentation about the common crimes committed at the airport. The most significant one is the stealing of electronic equipment, starting with cellular phones.

He suggested that the best way to avoid being a target is to be aware of the people around you.  Also, he suggested that if you are a target, do not resist the attack, unless you are qualified to subdue the attacker, like being a black belt in karate.  Nowadays burglars carry weapons such as knifes or guns. So it is not worthwhile to resist, as you may compromise your safety.
Capt Eichelberger
Attending the meeting

He also mentioned about watching your belongings, because they are easy targets too.  Pay attention when you place your belongings in the conveyor belt to be scanned by security.  Someone on the pickup side may be taking your laptop, purse, etc.

Deputy Taylor
The bottom line is to be aware of everything around you, so you are not an easy target.  He spent considerable time answering questions from Major Frank Riebli as well as other members. His presentation was very informative and covered many other experiences he had during his career as a Law Enforcement Officer.

Deputy Taylor and Maj Luneau
After Deputy Taylor finished his presentation, Major Luneau thanked him for coming to our meeting and presented him with a squadron cap or a patch.  Deputy Taylor chose the patch.

Maj Luneau Receiving his
Award from Capt Rivas

Awards and Presentations

Major Luneau received the 5-year Red Star Award.
1Lt Hayes Receiving his
Award from Capt Rivas

1st Lt Hayes received the 2-year Red Star Award.

SM Lunsford attending the meeting

1st Lt Hayes, Capt Rivas, Maj Luneau