12:13 PM

N.Y. Wing Completes 1st sUAS Mission Pilot and Aircrew School

Members of five Civil Air Patrol groups participated in the first New York Wing Mission Pilot and Aircrew School for small Unmanned Aerial Systems (sUAS) conducted at the U.S. Army National Guard’s Camp Smith Training Site two weekends in June.

The school was designed to help increase the number of qualified New York Wing sUAS pilots and technicians available for search and rescue, disaster relief and other emergency services missions. The school followed three years of preparatory sUAS training, primary sUAS flight instruction, FAA Part 107 Ground School courses, sUAS flight academies and the wing’s successful Form 5U Check Flights for New York sUAS pilots in May.

Seventeen New York Wing senior members and cadets attended the school, where they had to complete rigorous classroom training, demonstrate their skills on the flying field and participate in sUAS tactical field exercises on a remote mountaintop training area.

Eight participants earned their sUAS mission pilot qualification, and 14 earned sUAS technician qualifications.

Three CAP cadets participated – Cadet Lt. Col. Sean Flynn of the New York Wing’s Orange County Cadet Squadron, who earned a sUAS mission pilot qualification to add to his existing CAP pilot rating, and Cadet Lt. Col. Adam DeLitta and Cadet Capt. Grant Becker, both members of Westchester Cadet Squadron 1, who earned their sUAS technician qualifications.

Staff members for this first-of-its-kind school at the wing level were: Lt. Col. Darren Cioffi of the Long Island Senior Squadron, range safety controller; Capt. Joseph Volpe of Suffolk Cadet Squadron 10, flight instructor; 1st Lt. Joseph Cruz of Westchester Cadet Squadron 1, administrator and technology support officer; and 2nd Lts. Scott Harrigan of the Long Island Senior Squadron and Rick Inzerillo of the Mid-Eastern Group, sUAS instructor/check pilots.

“I am very encouraged and inspired by the dedication, focus and determination of the individuals who completed the Mission Pilot and Aircrew School,” said the school’s director, Lt. Col. Thomas Vreeland of Westchester Cadet Squadron 1, who also serves on CAP’s Board of Governors. “They spent well over 60 hours in May and June completing an extensive set of prerequisite coursework, mastered complex operational qualifications, demonstrated computer-based mission planning skills, accomplished demanding flight evaluations, used ORM (operational risk managment) to fly safely, and they planned and successfully flew more than 80 sUAS training and qualification flights.”

Lt. Col. Austin Worcester, the sUAS senior program manager at CAP National Headquarters, sent his congratulations and added, “Because of your hard work — your wing is the first to achieve full operational capacity in sUAS. You and your team are certainly commended!”

The next New York Wing sUAS Pilot Qualification Course, sUAS Train the Trainer Course and sUAS Mission Pilot and Aircrew School will be conducted later this summer and fall.