One of the three missions of the Civil Air Patrol (CAP) is Emergency Services (ES). Many people are not aware that CAP flies more than 85 percent of all federal inland search-and-rescue missions directed by the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center at Tyndall Air Force Base, Fl. Outside the continental United States, CAP supports the Joint Rescue Coordination Centers in Alaska, Hawaii and Puerto Rico. Approximately 75-100 people are saved each year by CAP members. Below are a few of the bigger missions that CAP has been involved in.
On the evening of the 9/11 disaster, Civil Air Patrol was tasked by FEMA and then Governor Pataki with an aerial photographic mission to document the destruction from above, to help ascertain the full extent of the damage. The following afternoon, on September 12th, 2001, the CAP Cessna 172, was one of the few aircraft in the air that afternoon in all of America.
Air patrolmen recall post-9/11 mission
CAP a decade after 9/11
When millionaire adventurer Steve Fossett and his airplane went missing in Nevada on September 3, 2007, it was the Civil Air Patrol that led the search for him. CAP launched sorties from command centers in Minden, Nevada, and Bishop, California, primarily in Cessna 172s, 182s, and 206s and Gippsland Airvan. They flew their search over five states; Nevada, California, Oregon, Utah, and Colorado. Search teams ultimately scoured 30,000 square nautical miles of some of the most rugged terrain in North America. Despite a month of searches by the Civil Air Patrol and others, Fossett was not found and the search by CAP was called off on October 2, 2007.
The search presented a severe challenge from the standpoint of safely flying hundreds of hours in very difficult conditions. By the fourth day, the CAP was using fourteen aircraft in the search effort, including one equipped with the ARCHER system that could automatically scan detailed imaging for a given signature of the missing aircraft. By September 10, search crews had found eight previously uncharted crash sites, some of which were decades old . All told, about two dozen aircraft were involved in the massive search, operating from the primary search base at Minden, Nevada, with a secondary search base located at Bishop, California. CAP searchers came from Wings across the United States, including Nevada, Utah, California, Arizona, New Mexico, Idaho, Oregon, Pennsylvania and Texas.
The Search for Steve Fossett - One tough job for the U.S. Civil Air Patrol.
Wikipedia - Steve Fossett
John F. Kennedy Jr.
At least 15 CAP pilots, from five Wings - Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New Jersey, and New York, were searching along the coastline in small, single-engine planes. They were being coordinated in their search by an Air National Guard crew flying over the area in a larger HC-130 airplane.
John F. Kennedy, Jr.'s plane reported missing