North Carolina Wing Attains sUAS 'Full Mission Capability'
The North Carolina Wing’s small Unmanned Aerial System (sUAS) program has reached Full Mission Capabilitystatus with 10 drone teams across the state – an achievement 4½ years in the making, according to the wing’s director of operations for UAS, Capt. Robert Rimmer.
Rimmer participated in drone training at Civil Air Patrol’s National Emergency Services Academy in 2017, which sparked his interest in the program as a future tool of the emergency services program.
With the support of Col. Jason Bailey, then North Carolina Wing commander, the program began with a Phantom 3 and F800 and has grown to include a Phantom 3, 2 Skydio 2’s, Skydio X2D’s, and an E384 fixed-wing drone. Members also use personal drones for training.
Rimmer started by offering training to fellow North Carolina Wing members, but the COVID-19 pandemic interrupted monthly sessions, so some training continued online.
According to National Headquarters, a wing must have 10 two-member drone teams – a mission pilot and a technician – to reach Full Mission Capability, and 21 have done so. The North Carolina Wing has exceeded that standard by mandating that each team include a second technician for additional team security.
Team members are spread across North Carolina, Rimmer said, and training is open to cadets and senior members. The first cadet technician recently qualified for that role.
Training is open to both cadets and senior members, and the first cadet qualified recently as a Technician.
Col. Edward Angelovich, wing commander, lauded the program participants’ "commitment and professionalism.”
“The culmination of all the hard work of growth, training, and supporting actual search missions is evidence this high-performance team leads the way to support UAS mission profiles in searches or post-disaster imagery for the state or other relief organizations,” Angelovich said.
Capt. Liz Dunster
Public Affairs Officer
North Carolina Wing