N.C. Wing Acquires FLIR Cameras
Capt. Lynne Albert
Public Affairs Officer
North Carolina Wing
The North Carolina Wing has expanded its airborne capabilities with two new forward-looking infrared (FLIR 8500) cameras, which create an image using a thermographic camera that senses infrared radiation, typically emitted from a heat source.
The wing acquired the specialized cameras through a joint project with North Carolina Emergency Management. The state agency is providing the funding to outfit a pair of Civil Air Patrol planes with the cameras. Installation is underway.
The FLIR cameras will be used on a variety of missions, including search and rescue, disaster relief and mitigation, homeland security, aerial imagery and aerial reconnaissance of traffic and ground conditions.
Once the cameras are in place, one of the planes will be based at Triangle North Executive Airport in Louisburg, in northeast North Carolina. The other will operate out of Asheville Regional Airport near the state’s western border, about 260 miles west of Louisburg.
The geographic diversity will make it easier for the wing to respond to requests for aid across North Carolina.
“Getting the FLIR cameras on our aircraft greatly increases the wing’s emergency services capabilities,” said Capt. Scott Stevens, the wing’s director of emergency services.
Stevens credited Capt. Ben Watkins, the wing’s manager for North Carolina Emergency Management, and Lt. Col. Chris Bailey, the wing’s deputy chief of staff, for having “worked tirelessly to make this happen.”
“Citizens across the state will benefit for years to come,” he said. “Getting these cameras is truly a game-changer for us, and it is going to help solidify CAP's position as a major player in search and rescue in North Carolina."
Bailey obtained funding for the specialized training that will be required to operate the camera. The wing is developing a task book and Specialty Qualification Training Records for the training.
During a mission, the thermal imaging system operator will operate the camera from the mission scanner seat. Both the operator and the mission observer will be able to view the images that the camera is seeing.