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Civil Air Patrol Supports Air Force B-1 Crash Investigation

January 12, 2024

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Civil Air Patrol’s South Dakota Wing flew aircraft and drone photography surveys over Ellsworth Air Force Base Saturday to document the scene where a B-1 crashed on Jan. 4.

Acting in its role as the auxiliary of the Air Force, Civil Air Patrol was tasked by the Air Force Interim Safety Board to fly photography surveys around the area of the crash, which happened as the bomber was attempting to land. About 15 CAP members participated in the sorties and served as mission staff.

“We used cameras in a small unmanned aerial system (sUAS), or drone, to provide high quality photos of the mishap area to the Safety Board investigators,” said Col. Mike Beason, the wing’s incident commander. “From those photos, we will provide an overview map of the area to the investigators. We also captured aerial images taken from a handheld camera in a CAP aircraft.”

“Civil Air Patrol’s single-engine aircraft and unmanned aerial system photography drones are ideally suited for this kind of air-to-ground photo survey work,” said CAP Col. Michael Marek, the South Dakota Wing commander. “We’re here to support federal, state and local agencies. One of our squadrons meets on base at Ellsworth and we are happy to make this photography mission part of our auxiliary and active-duty partnership.”

CAP has close to 400 members in South Dakota with units in Brookings, Custer, Pierre, Rapid City/Ellsworth AFB, Sioux Falls, Spearfish and Tea. CAP can deploy its six aircraft, ground teams and small search drones to assist in emergency response and other support to local, state, tribal and federal agencies in South Dakota. CAP also develops young leaders through its youth program and promotes aerospace education.

Tagged As: Photography sUAS USAF

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