Monday, July 21, 2014

History Repeats Itself - Amelia Earhart Returns to Oakland

By Lt Col Juan Tinnirello

The article shown below was published in The Post in the July 16-22 edition.  A more detailed description of Squadron 188's involvement in this historic event welcoming Amelia Rose Earhart back to Oakland to follow.

Article published in The Post, July 2014

In addition, the San Jose Mercury News has a great photo gallery of the event, which can be viewed here.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Flying O-Rides at Encampment

by 2Lt Eric Choate

Recently Remodeled Accommodations at Camp San Luis Obispo
Capt. Joshua Edwards and I flew down to San Luis Obispo on Saturday afternoon, July 5th.   The flight was uneventful and we arrived at about 6pm.  Before landing I contacted the base on CC1 to let them know we were about to arrive.  They said they would send someone to pick us up.   We buttoned up our aircraft and proceeded into the Jet Center where we ordered fuel and met our driver.  After a 10 minute drive north we arrived at Camp San Luis Obispo, former home of the California National Guard.

Retried F4 at Camp San Luis Obispo

First stop was registration, then the mess hall where we filled our empty stomachs.   After that, logistics to pick up bedding for Capt. Edwards who had a reserved a spot in an open bay.   Next we visited the billeting office, which was closed, but had left my key in the lock box for pickup.  I had reserved a room for $49, but was surprised to find that not only did I have a room, but an entire private cabin complete with a fridge, microwave and satellite TV.

Cadets Marching
The next morning, I awoke to my alarm at 0530 hours to ensure I had enough time to eat and get to the airport by 0730 for the pilot briefing.   I peeked out of my window expecting to see nothing but was amazed to see several Cadets jogging around the base.  After breakfast the pilots piled into vehicles and were taken to the Airport.   There we were given the plan for the day.  Half of us were to fly north to Paso Robles, the other half south to Santa Maria.   After the briefing we were given time to pre-flight our aircraft before Cadets began arriving at the Airport.  After arriving the Cadets lined up to receive their Pilot assignments.      Each plane had come with two pilots, so one pilot could be flying while the other prepped for the next flight.

Capt Edwards Briefs his Cadets
Capt. Edwards took the first set.  Meanwhile, I took my Cadets aside to discuss safety, weight and balance and review the chart and plan for the flight.
CAP Fleet Waiting for Fog to Clear

Cadets Garza, Lentz and Anguico Rehydrating

Next we obtained our flight release.   We loaded up and headed out, first towards Morro Bay for a peek at Morro Rock, then east over Camp San Luis Obispo, and finally to Paso Robles.  A brief stop at Paso Robles to trade seats and then back to San Luis Obispo.  Rinse and repeat for the rest of the day.

Cadets Webb and Shin with 2Lt Choate

There were 17 planes and 34 pilots  and 202 Cadets so 3/4 of the O-Rides were completed on the first day.  As such, the next day was a short one and by noon we were heading home.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

July 2014 All Hands Meeting

By 2Lt Karin Hollerbach, photos courtesy of Lt Col Juan Tinnirello

1Lt Patrick Bitz
Aerospace Education in Anchorage

1Lt Patrick Bitz discussed his recent trip to the Aerospace Education Officer (AEO) School in Anchorage, Alaska. Thank you to 1Lt Bitz for his dedication to CAP, traveling all the way to Alaska to attend this important training.

Amelia Rose Earhart's Flight Around the World 

Lt Col Juan Tinnirello gave an overview of the events surrounding Amelia Rose Earhart’s departure for her flight around the world, recreating the “original” Amelia Earhart’s flight. Lt Col Tinnirello gave Ms Earhart two Squadron 188 patches to take with her around the world.  When she returns after a successful flight, Ms Earhart will keep one of the patches, and our squadron will proudly keep the other one, as a memento of this historic event. Ms Earhart’s progress was kept updated here throughout her flight.

Ramp Checks

2d Lt Robert Adams
The squadron will begin its ramp check program starting this month. For everyone conducting ramp checks, the following should be kept in mind:

  • Safety first!
  • Please conduct a brief vehicle inspection before any ramp check.
  • Follow all posted signs and regulations.

2d Lt Robert Adams is leading the ramp check program.  We are still looking for a couple of additional people to join the existing teams and help keep the airport safe. For questions on how to participate, please contact 2Lt Adams directly.

Welcome, New Member!

A warm welcome to our latest new member, SM John Matheson.  SM Matheson is not only a pilot, but also a CFII (Certified Flight Instructor - Instrument) and an A&P (Airframe & Powerplant maintenance).  With any luck, we’ll have another Form 5 flight coming up soon…

Maj Noel Luneau and Maj Maggie Wang

New Ratings
Congratulations to:

  • Maj Maggie Wang for completing her Technician rating for Communications 
  • 2Lt Hollerbach for completing her MSA rating
  • SM Timothy Roberts for completing his MRO rating

Red Service Award
Congratulations to Capt Louis Rivas for achieving his 5-year Red Service Award.

Maj Luneau and 1Lt Jordan Hayes
CAP Achievement Award
Congratulations to 1Lt Jordan Hayes for being honored with the CAP Achievement Award, in recognition of his work on this year’s Oakland DRE and the prior year’s Oakland SAREX.

Command Pilot Rating
Congratulations to Maj Noel Luneau for achieving the Command Pilot rating, in recognition of his 2000 hours of pilot in command (PIC) time and 5 years of being a CAP pilot.

Safety Briefing – Group 2 and other California Airports!

Capt Georgios Michelogiannakis led a safety discussion about some of the challenges specific to operating out of California Wing Group 2 airports. Some highlights:


  • Lots of hotspots: this airport has many taxiways and runways – see the airport diagram!
  • Challenging VOR 19R approach


  • Rwy 33 runup area is missing
  • Where do you do the runup for 28R?
  • Tricky approach into Rwy 33
  • Be clear on the departure and approach procedures
  • Caution – airlines may use 28R
  • Frequent TFRs near the airport 
  • There are 2 ground frequencies – be clear on which one to use


  • Short runway
  • “The parallel” refers to taxiway Z
  • Frequent birds on short final
  • Capt Georgios Michelogiannakis
  • Class B airspace nearby


  • Be clear on whether tower has cleared you to 31R or 31L
  • Taxiway Y only for closed pattern traffic
  • Taxiway Z has no visibility into hangars
  • Only WAAS enabled aircraft can get decent approach minimums


  • Busy!  And not all aircraft have radios
  • Used by skydivers and gliders
  • Very susceptible to fog
  • Although there’s no more decent food on the field, there is cheap gas!

We also discussed some of California’s airports that were the most challenging, had the shortest and the narrowest runways, and had the most obstacles and the greatest winds.  If you have any stories about your favorite (i.e., most challenging! :) you do like challenges, right?) airports in California, please share them in the comments section!

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Flight Training: Congratulations to Watsonville Squadron's New CAP Pilot!

By Capt Georgios Michelogiannakis and 2Lt Karin Hollerbach, photos courtesy of Maj Randy Pesce

Capt Georgios Michelogiannakis (Squadron 188) and
 Maj Randy Pesce (Squadron 13)
The CAP version of cross training!  Following on the heels of Capt Jeff Ironfield going to WVI to give a presentation about being a CAP pilot and what is required for a Form 5, Capt Georgios Michelogiannakis, our Squadron 188 Standards and Evaluation Officer, flew to Watsonville (WVI) to begin training for several WVI squadron members, with the goal of helping them to pass their Form 5 checkrides and become CAP pilots.

The first training day at WVI was a success! We had planned three flights (three trainees). The WVI squadron has five pilot members (one a CFII), so three trainees was a great start.

Unfortunately one member took ill and had to cancel, which gave us time to go into more detail and take our time for flight release procedures, 60-1, and other CAP procedures. So we took good advantage of the extra time. The day started at 8:30am on the ground at WVI and ended around 6pm.

Capt Michelogiannakis and Capt Doug
Anderson (Sq 13) after a successful checkride
Capt Doug Anderson’s flight was a Form 5, which was a success! That makes the squadron's first CAP pilot. He's an experienced pilot who prepared in other 182s for this, so he made it and also added the cadet orientation endorsement.

The second flight was a training flight for a member to prepare for a form 5. There was a lot of progress being made, and we talked about plans to get him to the end goal.

2Lt Rob Hansel (Sq 13) checking fuel
 before his training flight

Both flights were for VFR round-dial flying, and took a little less than two hours in the beautiful bay weather.

Throughout the day we talked about plans to grow the pilot and general enrollment in the WVI squadron, as well as the possibility of getting a plane assigned to that squadron, at least part-time. The good news is that some members are in fact close (somewhat) to RHV, so we should have more members taking up the skies soon.

Further WVI training is being planned, with dates to be determined.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Mission Air Crew School - Ground School in Oakland

By 2Lt Karin Hollerbach, photos by 2Lt Hollerbach and Maj Chris Suter

On June 21-22, I and 13 other students attended the Northern California Mission Aircrew School (MAS) Ground School in Oakland, hosted at Squadron 188.

Students attending our Ground School came from Oakland, Sacramento, Riverside, Los Angeles, Redding, Merced, and Concord.
Maj Marc Sobel and Capt Tom Sheahan
(Photo Maj Suter)
Maj Marc Sobel and 2Lt Eric Choate
(Photo Maj Suter)

Among our students, 3 of us were training for a new Mission Observer (MO) rating, 6 for new Mission Pilot (MP), and the rest were renewing their ratings and/or refreshing their training.

Last month, the equivalent Ground School was held in Southern California.  Next month, all students will come together for the remainder of our training, in Fresno.

Capt Raymond Woo
(Photo 2Lt Hollerbach)
Thanks to our dedicated instructors, Capt Raymond Woo, Maj Chris Suter, Capt Pete McCutchen, Maj Marc Sobel, Capt Joshua Edwards, and Maj Noel Luneau for donating time this weekend to help us with our training!

Topics included:

  • Communications
  • High altitude and terrain considerations
  • CAP grid systems
  • Crew resource management, including MP and MO duties and responsibilities
  • Search planning and coverage, including electronic and visual search methods
  • Aircrew survival 
  • What to expect from a checkride (for MPs)
  • Step through a typical mission
  • And others

Capt Joshua Edwards
(Photo 2Lt Hollerbach)

All students passed their written exam and received certificates of completion for this part of their MAS training. Congratulations to all!

Class was a lot of fun, especially the tabletop exercise of working through planning for a search mission – though no doubt nowhere near as much fun as the flying will be next month!  Stay tuned for a report of activities from Fresno in July.