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SDWG has First Evaluation

February 27, 2023

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South Dakota Civil Air Patrol pilots and the aircrew assisted the South Dakota Air National Guard in practicing the interception of slow-moving aircraft Friday.

In addition to the F-16 pilots and crews sharpening their skills, U.S. Air Force evaluators reviewed the CAP aircrews’ performance under a new evaluation system.

"This was the first in a series of operational evaluations of the S.D. Wing that will be conducted during the rest of the year,” said Jeremy Aamold, the Air Force North Central CAP Liaison Region evaluator. “It is part of a new initiative between CAP and the Air Force to assess the many missions CAP and SD Wing accomplishes for the Air Force.”

Aamold said the SDWG crew skillfully provided valuable air intercept training for the 114th Fighter Wing.

In the 114th Fighter Wing training mission, known as Felix Keynote, a CAP aircraft played the role of an intruder in controlled airspace. The single-engine CAP aircraft fly much slower than normal F-16 speeds. The slow-speed intercepts allow the South Dakota Air National Guard pilots to train in slow interception flight procedures.

“The Air Force has evaluated CAP’s operational readiness for years,” said Lt. Col. Mike Cassidy, CAP’s South Dakota Wing director of operations. “But South Dakota Wing’s F-16 intercept mission is one of the first of a new type of Air Force evaluation.”

Cassidy adds that the South Dakota Wing is leading the way in the region, being one of the first wings evaluated under the new process.

The official report on the evaluation will arrive later, but Cassidy said South Dakota Wing received positive feedback.

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