Pilot clinic planned for Regional Airport

Posted: April 26, 2014

Star staff report

WINCHESTER — The Winchester Composite Squadron of the Civil Air Patrol will host a Mountain Fury Clinic at the Regional Airport today and Sunday.

The goal is to train mission pilots to conduct search-and-rescue flights at low levels in mountainous terrain.

The training covers the effects of weather on flight operations and associated dangers.

Since more than 90 percent of the search and rescue operations for missing aircraft in the United States is conducted by the CAP, such training is critical, a spokesman said.

The clinic will include classroom work and flying practice to hone the skills required during a mission.

Mountain searches require intensive training for pilots, particularly as they involve significant areas of mountain ranges in western Virginia — the location of the largest number of missing aircraft in the state.

The training not only covers aircrews, but also ground teams, communications and mission base personnel.

CAP, the official Air Force auxiliary, is a nonprofit organization with more than 60,000 volunteers in the United States and Puerto Rico. It performs rescue missions, guided by the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center.

Volunteers also take a leading role in aerospace education and serve as mentors to young people through CAP Cadet Programs.

For more information about Civil Air Patrol programs, call Maj. Al Bergeron at 540-303-0818.