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South Dakota CAP holds Aerospace Education Day at Philip Airport

August 24, 2021

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Philip, SD - Twenty Civil Air Patrol (CAP) members attended an Aerospace Education Day at the Philip, SD, Airport Saturday, August 21.  Attendees came from Rapid City, Spearfish, Custer, Philip, Pierre and Sioux Falls.

Aerospace Education is one of three primary program areas of CAP, along with operational missions for local, state, tribal and federal agencies, as well as its youth program, known at the Cadet Program.

Maj. Tim Modde, director of Aerospace Education for South Dakota Wing, CAP, expressed appreciation to the City of Philip for allowing this annual event at the airport for the last several years. 

“The ability to conduct all the day’s events on the airport grounds increases the number of activities our cadets can participate in during the limited time we have together,” Modde said. “It’s truly a unique opportunity, one that would not be possible at larger airports around the state.” 

Two CAP aircraft, piloted by Lt. Col. Buck Deweese and Lt. Col. Myra Christensen, flew in from Spearfish and Pierre, respectively, and provided nine orientation flights for cadets.  Each CAP cadet is eligible to have five orientation rides, including an increasing level of cadet participation in cockpit duties.  In addition to aircraft flights, cadets engaged in activities involving Unmanned Aircraft Systems (drones), operation of model aircraft, construction of multi-stage model rockets (although dry conditions prevented launching), and experimentation with the new wind tunnel and wing tester of South Dakota Wing, CAP.  Certified UAS CAP pilots, Col. Mike Beason and Capt. Donny Weiand, demonstrated the capabilities of drones in Search and Rescue Operations.  South Dakota Wing was the first CAP state organization in the nation to use unmanned aircraft in an actual Search and Rescue Operation. 

The event, usually held over the weekend, was reduced to a single day to lower the risk of possible COVID-19 exposure.  Condensing events to a single day provided the cadets the opportunity to inundate themselves in aviation-related activities, while building a camaraderie with cadets from other CAP squadrons. 

Another CAP AE Day is scheduled for members in eastern South Dakota on September 12, also to minimize the risk of COV ID-19 exposure.

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.

CAP has over 400 members in South Dakota with units in Brookings, Custer, Miller/Faulkton, Pierre, Rapid City, Sioux Falls, Spearfish and Tea. The wing 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.

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