Hats Off to CAP

Members of the Civil Air Patrol, the Air Force’s all-volunteer auxiliary, participate in more than 200 air defense training exercises a year, helping Air Force fighter units practice intercepting small-sized aircraft operating unauthorized in North American airspace. “We fly a specific flight profile or multiple profiles that test the ability of the [aerospace control alert] units to respond to various threats,” said Col. Leo Burke, commander of CAP’s Michigan Wing. “The training the ACA units get from these exercises is crucial,” added Mark O’Brien, CAP-Air Force liaison to 1st Air Force at Tyndall AFB, Fla. The CAP aircraft cost only $135 per flying hour to operate. “If the Air Force had to contract for a similar asset, they could easily pay up to $7,000 per hour,” said Lt. Col. Chris Sabo, CAP plans and programs chief. (Tyndall report by Angela Pope)