Texas Wing Flight Competition Exceeds Expectations

Written by Maj. Matthew Congrove     February 28th, 2016

Crews begin preparing their aircraft for the start of the Civil Air Patrol Texas Wing's first annual Flight Competition in San Marcos, Texas. (Photo by Maj. Matthew Congrove)

  • Left to right are Lt. Col. Mike Duc, Lt. Col. Roger Corbin, and Maj. Jan Wagner of the Group 5 team proudly showing off their first place trophy. (Photo by Maj. Matthew Congrove)

  • The aircrews and mission base staff assemble for the morning briefing provided by Lt. Col. Shane Lipson. (Photo by Maj. Matthew Congrove)

San Marcos, Texas — On Saturday, fifteen Civil Air Patrol officers took to the skies over hill country for a chance to win the first annual Texas Wing Flight Competition. The three person aircrew from Texas Group 5 (San Antonio region), who held home field advantage, ended up with the trophy after a rigorous day of flying, inspections and tests.

"Excellent flight planning, quickly accomplished in this high tempo and realistic environment, was key to our success," said Lieutenant Colonel Roger Corbin, the Mission Pilot of the winning team. Lt. Col. Mike Duc served as the Mission Observer and Major Jan Wagner rounded out the crew as the Mission Scanner. "Crisp inflight crew coordination won the day," added Corbin.

Texas Wing Group 3 (Dallas region) came in second place for the competition, and Group 4 (Houston region) finished in a very close third.

The big winner of the day, however, was the Civil Air Patrol as a whole.

"When we set this up, we envisioned a good competition with teams vying for points and winning a trophy," said Lt. Col. Shane Lipson, Texas Wing's Standardization and Evaluation Officer, who was in charge of the contest. "It became clear early on that this was also turning into an amazing training event."

Throughout the competition, situations arose that could potentially occur during real world search and rescue or disaster recovery missions. "One plane had the search equipment break down during flight, so they had to use other techniques to find the emergency transmitter," Lipson said.

The events included a pre-flight inspection on an aircraft that had been purposefully altered, a quiz on the type of plane most often flown by the Civil Air Patrol, a mission to photograph a nearby dam, a search for a simulated emergency beacon, and a test which required the crews to calculate how much fuel and time would be consumed by their flight.

Operations flowed smoothly at the mission base, held in the hanger of the CENTEX Commemorative Air Force. "We're thankful for our longtime friends here at the CAF for the assistance, as well as to Berry Aviation for keeping our planes flying," said Captain Bob Klett, a member of the local David Lee "Tex" Hill Composite Squadron and the Logistics Officer for the competition. "Couldn't have done it without them."

Many of the staffers at mission base were hopeful that other wings and the Southwest Region would use this event as an impetus to create their own. Lt. Col. Lipson's counterpart at Southwest Region, Maj. Stephen Hundley, was in attendance to get a glimpse of the operation. Later in the evening Lt. Col. Lipson received a call. "Maj. Hundley had already talked to his hierarchy at region to discuss what we were putting together and is using us as a model for what to do."

About Civil Air Patrol

Civil Air Patrol, the longtime all-volunteer U.S. Air Force auxiliary, is the newest member of the Air Force's Total Force, which consists of regular Air Force, Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve, along with Air Force retired military and civilian employees. CAP, in its Total Force role, operates a fleet of 550 aircraft and performs about 90 percent of continental U.S. inland search and rescue missions as tasked by the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center and is credited by the AFRCC with saving an average of 78 lives annually. Civil Air Patrol's 56,000 members nationwide also perform homeland security, disaster relief and drug interdiction missions at the request of federal, state and local agencies. Its members additionally play a leading role in aerospace education and serve as mentors to more than 24,000 young people currently participating in the CAP cadet program. Performing missions for America for the past 75 years, CAP received the Congressional Gold Medal in 2014 in honor of the heroic efforts of its World War II veterans. CAP also participates in Wreaths Across America, an initiative to remember, honor and teach about the sacrifices of U.S. military veterans. Visit www.gocivilairpatrol.com for more information.


Contact Information

Lt. Col. Ron Diana, CAP
Squadron Commander & Public Affairs Officer
David Lee "Tex" Hill Composite Squadron, SWR-TX-435, Texas Wing
(512) 710-8435 | cc@texhillcap.org

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