16:47 PM

N.C. Unit Trains 20 in Mountain Flying

Maj. Clint Parker
Assistant Public Affairs Officer
Asheville Composite Squadron
North Carolina Wing

The art of aerial searching above mountainous terrain was the focus when the North Carolina Wing’s Asheville Composite Squadron held its 13th Mountain Fury Clinic recently.

Civil Air Patrol planes typically search from an altitude of 1,000 feet above ground level, so mountains can prove to be a challenge -- not only because of the variations in ground level but also because of the unpredictable winds to which the terrain contributes.

The 20 participating pilots hailed from the North Carolina and South Carolina wings, with nine of the North Carolina pilots participating in order to renew their mountain flying certification. Cadets and senior members from the North Carolina and Tennessee wings manned Asheville Regional Airport’s flight line, with nine CAP Cessnas ready to take to the air.

Nineteen pilots achieved mountain flying certification for three years, with one pending, said Lt. Col. Ray Davis of the Asheville Composite Squadron, project officer for the training session. All eight instructors requalified, he said.

In all, “we had a total of 62 members involved, including mission base operations, flight line, communication, logistics, instructors and students," Davis said. Participants logged 35 hours in training time, he added.

The clinic impressed Lt. Col. Brett Grooms, homeland security officer for the South Carolina Wing.

“I wanted to thank and compliment your ‘team' who put on the Mountain Fury Clinic this last weekend. Our South Carolina pilots had a wonderful time. Everyone from the staff to cadets were nothing but professionals,” Grooms said in an email to Col. Jason Bailey, North Carolina Wing commander.

Past Mountain Fury sessions have included pilots from the Florida, Georgia, Maryland and Tennessee wings.