Minden Civil Air Patrol flies flooding mission
An aerial photo reconnaissance mission in support of the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office to assess the extent and damage of recent flooding was conducted by members of the Douglas County Composite Squadron, Nevada Wing of the Civil Air Patrol, headquartered in Minden.
“We were doing camera training when the call came in that the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office had requested photo support to help assess damage from recent flooding,” said Lt. Col. Brad Spires, the mission pilot commanding a CAP Cessna 182. “Our incident commander Lt. Col. Dennis Gordon gave us the areas the sheriff wanted searched, and I developed a search plan that evening.”
The crew — Lt. Col. James Baushke as mission observer (copilot) and 1st Lt. Jack Hampel as mission scanner (photographer) met Spires for breakfast the next morning. Spires briefed the mission to his crew, and they were airborne a short time later.
“It was flown on the weekend when the Nevada Wing staff meeting and commander’s call was being held in Hawthorne, so Minden had the only crew available to fly,” remarked Baushke. “We really lucked out with the weather.”
The four and a half hour mission took the crew from north of Rye Patch Reservoir, Paradise Valley, Orovada, Kings River Valley, and as far north as McDermitt, Oregon. “
Some ranchers are going to have to use a rowboat to get to their homes,” Baushke said. The crew then proceeded south to Winnemucca and then headed back to Minden.
The searches in the target areas were flown at 1,000 feet and flying about 90 mph. Hampel took over 150 high-resolution digital photographs of swollen rivers, streams, ranches, and roads, which were all made available to the sheriff a short time after the flight returned to Minden.
“Humboldt County did not experience significant flooding or structural damage,” Baushke commented. “Now they have proof. You don’t know and can’t confirm unless you have eyes in the sky.”
“Excellent crew work, with Jim sharing enroute flying,” Spires said. “Great camera work by Jack, and great job by Dennis in the mission base and Capt. Carl Kennedy in communications. For me, routine. It’s what we do every day. We like that we are getting more tasking from local law enforcement and fire units.”
The Douglas County Composite Squadron, Nevada Wing of the Civil Air Patrol has 35 volunteer senior members and 21 cadets and welcomes new members to train to perform emergency services missions. Contact Capt. Susan Kennedy, squadron commander, at 783-1008 or find them on Facebook at @Douglas-County-Composite-Squadron-CAP.