CAP Provides Challenging Intercept Target for F-16 Pilots
South Dakota Wing, Civil Air Patrol, aircrews flew four training sorties with F-16 jets of the 175th Fighter Squadron, South Dakota Air National Guard on October 18 and 21. CAP’s Cessnas simulated unauthorized aircraft flying in restricted air space.
The training, known as “Felix Keynote,” helped the F-16 pilots prepare for the possible real-world need to intercept aircraft having emergencies, violations of Temporary Flight Restriction areas, and other aerial targets.
"As part of our continued effort to refine and improve our mission capabilities, we work with the Civil Air Patrol to practice intercepts of dissimilar aircraft and aerospace control procedures,” said Maj. Ryan “Ike” Shuck, 175th Fighter Squadron Aerospace Control Alert Officer. “This type of training is crucial to being adequately prepared to defend the homeland against threats and provide support to distressed aircraft. The CAP is a critical part of our readiness, and we greatly appreciate the professional support they provide."
CAP is the civilian auxiliary of the Air Force, with responsibilities that are part of the USAF’s support to civil authorities to save lives, relieve suffering, prevent property damage and provide humanitarian assistance. In addition, CAP promotes aerospace education and its “cadet” young program develops leadership among young people.
“This Felix Keynote mission we do as the USAF Auxiliary is something that most civilian pilots and passengers don’t get to see,” said Lt. Col. Craig Goodrich, CAP’s incident commander for the mission. “When you do it for training, getting intercepted by a pair of F-16’s can be fun. Especially when they light the afterburner and fly in front of you to ‘get your attention.’ The CAP is uniquely suited to do this mission for the South Dakota Air National Guard and the Western Air Defense Sector.”
With close to 400 members in South Dakota and units in Brookings, Custer, Miller, Pierre, Rapid City, Sioux Falls, Spearfish and Tea, the wing can deploy its six aircraft, ground teams and small search drones to assist in disaster response and other support to local, state, tribal and federal agencies. In addition, CAP promotes aerospace education and STEM education and its cadet youth program develops future leaders.