WATERLOO — Squadrons from the Iowa wing of the Civil Air Patrol gathered at the Waterloo Regional Airport this weekend for some long overdue training.
This weekend’s exercise, organized by Capt. Alexander Paul, is the first opportunity Iowa CAP volunteers and cadets have been able to meet and train for some time due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“This is a big day for Iowa wing, our first exercise in nearly two years with the pandemic,” said Paul.
With 80 personnel on hand from the Cedar Rapids, Dubuque, Davenport and Des Moines squadrons, CAP utilized the entire airport to conduct training exercises ranging from search and rescue, aiding in natural disaster relief, and photographing storm damage or historic landmarks.
Lt. Anthony Doremus said through large training exercises like these, CAP personnel are cable of responding to a large variety of calls for assistance from local, county, state and national agencies.
Crews used multiple spaces in the airport, setting up command centers for air and ground operations who coordinated with each other by radio as they would when responding to real calls to service.
Throughout the weekend, personnel took missions on five aircraft, comprised of Cessna 172 and 182 planes, which are part of the CAP aircraft fleet, the largest single engine fleet in the world.
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A crew returning near lunch time had conducted a ELT, or electronic locator transmitter, search, simulating the search for a downed aircraft by its emergency beacon.
Recently, a new squadron of the Iowa wing was chartered to be run out of the Waterloo Regional Airport. The Blackhawk County Composite Squadron, with 38 members, will be under the command of Capt. Alexander Paul.