17:19 PM

S.D. Members Practice sUAS Search

Lt. Col. Mchael Marek
Public Affairs Officer
South Dakota Wing

Members of two South Dakota Wing squadrons trained April 10 in Rapid City using search drones – officially known as small Unmanned Aircraft Systems..

“Our exercise simulated a lost teenager who was hiking to a lake near a residential area on the edge of Rapid City,” said Col. Mike Beason, exercise commander. “The search terrain was a challenge since there was a 150-foot drop from the start of the trail to the lake.

The exercise was designed so the sUAS would be out of the pilots’ sight while it was over the lake. The ground teams’ sUAS technicians followed the craft’s path, tracking it and coordinating with the pilots by CAP radio.

“The exercise was not just about flying a small unmanned vehicle,” Beason said.

“It was comprehensive training on the roles many CAP members would play in actual sUAS search and damage assessment missions.”

The sUAS pilots for the exercise were Beason and Senior Member Ryan Jones, both members of the Rushmore Composite Squadron.

Second Lt. Jacob Roth of the Rushmore squadron headed the ground team, and Lt. Col. Buck DeWeese of the Lookout Composite Squadron served as safety officer.

Also participating were:

  • Lt. Col. Bill Collister, South Dakota Wing inspector generalCapt. Malisa Nile, Rushmore Composite deputy commander
  • 2nd Lt. Byron Aultmann of the Rushmore squadron
  • Cadet Airmen 1st Class Aydin Hoefler of the Rushmore unit and Stephen Kroetch of the Lookout Mountain squadron.
  • Nationally, CAP owns 2,000 drones and a growing number of qualified pilots and technicians.