At our regular Monday meeting on the evening of March 13, Squadron 128 was treated to a couple of special guests, none other than CAP National Commander, Maj Gen Joe Vazquez, along with his wife, Lt Col Leslie Vazquez.
Gen. Vazquez joined in a discussion of ADS-B, providing some valuable insight into CAP’s adoption of NextGen, the FAA’s overhaul of the National Airspace System. He and Leslie both also gave some candid and informative remarks about CAP and their own personal involvement in the organization. Gen. Vazquez commented that attending a squadron meeting was a refreshing experience for both he and his wife, noting that as national commander, he often exists “inside a bubble,” and reminded us that the heart of CAP is at the squadron level.
Gen. Vazquez has been National Commander since Aug. 15, 2014 and first joined CAP as a cadet over 40 years ago. Over the decades he has served as Group Commander, Wing Commander, Region Commander and is still a qualified Check Pilot Examiner. Lt Col Leslie Vazquez most recently served as the CAP’s National Standardization/Evaluation Advisor.
Aerial reconnaissance and photography of disaster areas is one of the high tech services CAP provides to the nation.
In 1993 CAP covered the Missouri floods, in 2001, Civil Air Patrol documented the devastation following the 9/11 terrorist attacks. In 2002, CAP provided aerial security over the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City. In 2005, Hurricane Katrina tested the abilities of numerous agencies. CAP pilots flew over 670 missions in support of the relief efforts. CAP ground team members spent countless hours locating ELTs on boats and going door-to-door searching for stranded citizens.
The California Wildfires in 2007 brought CAP members out again as they searched for stranded residents, staffed command centers, and provided aerial documentation of the aftermath. In 2010, CAP responded to the Deepwater Horizon oil disaster along the Gulf Coast and in 2012 responded to Hurricane Sandy which devastated the Northeast; many members responding were also severely affected by the storm, but continued to serve their neighbors.
Every year, CAP performs approximately 95% of inland aerial search and rescue missions as directed by the USAF. Searching for missing airplanes and lost hikers, CAP saves roughly 100 lives every year. Three of the most covered searches in the last decade profiled CAP’s capability to conduct searches over an extensive area while coordinating with multiple other agencies.
In 1999, CAP assisted with the search for John F. Kennedy Jr.’s airplane, which crashed at sea off the Massachusetts coast. In February 2003, the nation watched while CAP, the USAF, and several other agencies searched for wreckage from the space shuttle Columbia. The disappearance of famous aviation pioneer and millionaire Steve Fossett in September 2007 led to the largest search in CAP history involving several CAP wings and lasting nearly a month.
Capts Yudkowsky, Burnett, Ross and Daniels represented Hawker Senior Squadron 128 at the Bob Hoover Send Off on November 18 at Clay Lacy Aviation in Van Nuys.
Fifteen hundred friends of the legendary airman gathered to honor Hoover, who passed away October 25 at age 94.
Clay Lacy gave a moving testament to Hoover, as did numerous aviation luminaries and close Hoover pals.
The ceremony highlights included some inspiring words from actor Harrison Ford on the importance of aviation education for the young and a memorial flyover including two USAF Thunderbird F16s, Canada’s Snowbirds and a F22 Raptor accompanied by twin F86 fighters.
Hoover’s “Old Yeller” P51 Mustang peeled aways from a vintage warbird missing man formation.
Hawker Squadron volunteers Lt Col Tom Sayer, Capt Larry See and SM Bill Daniels traveled to Bakersfield to participate in the annual California Wing exercise.
Bill Daniels served as a Public Information Officer trainee and authored this press release for local media:
PRESS RELEASE — April 30, 2016
California Wing Mobilizing In Exercise Simulating Two Major Earthquakes
BAKERSFIELD, California – U.S. Air Force Auxiliary Civil Air Patrol (“CAP”) is mobilizing this weekend in an exercise simulating disaster relief efforts following two major west coast earthquakes.
The exercise scenario has a 7.8 magnitude earthquake hitting the Hayward Fault in northern California this past Thursday, followed by a second quake off the Oregon coast. The imaginary twin seismic events are triggering mobilization of CAP’s all-volunteer organization, which counts emergency services disaster response as a primary mission.
The exercise is utilizing the incident command system (ICS) with 3 primary locations. Bakersfield is designated as the Area Command, coordinating efforts between two operational bases located at Gillespie field in San Diego and Sacramento executive airport in Sacramento
The exercise scenario has the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES), U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) tasking CAP to conduct damage assessment and tsunami watch operations over the San Francisco Bay Area and Northern California coastline. Additionally, the exercise includes a reported missing single engine civilian aircraft travelling from southern to northern California, with the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center (AFRCC) at Tyndall Air Force Base in Florida tasking CAP in search and rescue efforts for the missing aircraft.
Over 100 volunteers across California are involved in the disaster exercise, flying nearly twenty single engine Cessna aircraft and operating numerous other vehicles.
“This is a big event for California’s Civil Air Patrol community and we’re honored that Bakersfield is hosting our organization,” said Capt Charles Christian, incident commander at the Bakersfield command center. “Exercises like this these assure Civil Air Patrol volunteers and resources are ready to help our communities should disaster strike in the future.”
Hawkers Squadron volunteers joined a Civil Air Patrol contingent helping out at the 2016 Los Angeles County Air Show at General Wm. J. Fox Airfield (KWJF) in Lancaster, CA .
Spread out across a Saturday and Sunday (March 19-20), the KWJF event is Los Angeles County’s only air show. Hawker Squadron member and Air Show board member SM Robert Ross said over 55,000 people were expected to attend.
Antelope Valley aerospace powerhouse Lockheed Martin was the major event sponsor, which highlighted the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) educational program in Los Angeles.
The U.S. Navy Blue Angels headlined the air show, celebrating their 70th year as a premiere precision flying team. From Texas, a T-6 flight made up as Japanese war planes dazzled the crowd with a pyrotechnic/flying display, “Tora Tora Tora.”
Planes of Fame warbirds flew in from Chino, CA (KCNO) in abundance, including a Lockheed P-38 Lightning, Curtiss P-40N Warhawk, F-86 Sabre and the restored Northrop N9MB Flying Wing, a predecessor to today’s B-2 Stealth Bomber.
Show opened with former Navy SEAL jumpers performing as the Patriot Parachute Team. Also thrilling the crowd were the Texas Flying Legends Museum squadron, aerobatic flyers Skip Stewart, Melissa Pemberton, Chuck Coleman and Kent Pietsch, the Shockwave Jet Truck, Third Strike Wingwalking. A NASA ER-2 High Altitude Platform (NASA’s U-2 variant) completed a perfectly -tuned show.
Van Nuys Airport – Mar. 14, 2016: Just what kind of the “right stuff” does it take to wring bugs out of cutting edge aircraft?
National Test Pilot School Chief Operations Officer, Jim “JB” Brown, knows and he’s willing to share.
Lucky for KVNY’s Hawker Senior Squadron 128 members, who spent a riveting hour-and-a-half with one of America’s premiere military and civilian test pilots. The evening program was organized by Assistant Aerospace Education Officer, SM Robert Ross.
Brown is uniquely qualified to tell test pilot tales to air men and women.
A graduate of the USAF Test Pilot School, Brown holds a BS in Civil Engineering from Virginia Military Institute and a MS in Management from Troy State University.
With over 8,900 hours logged in 123 different aircraft – both military and commercial – Brown boasts an alphabet soup’s worth of FAA certifications, including ATP, MEL, Commercial and CFI, SEL.
After starting his career in the U.S.A.F., Brown spent time flying for a commercial airline, then transitioned to Lockheed Martin. At Lockheed, he served as Chief Test Pilot for the F-117A stealth fighter, Chief Test Pilot for the F-22A and Chief of Flight Operations for Lockheed Martin’s legendary Skunk Works.
Brown’s test pilot credentials include A-7D Electronic Warfare platforms, F-15 A/B/C/D software, radar and weapons integration, F-15E initial development avionics, weapons, electronic warfare and propulsion and various still-classified aircraft prototypes.
Capping off his credentials, Brown is a Fellow of both the Society of Experimental Test Pilots and the Royal Aeronautical Society. He also belongs to the Order of Daedalians (a fraternal and professional order of American military pilots).
Recently retired from Lockheed, Brown joined the National Test Pilot School without so much as a two-week vacation. “I left work at Lockheed on a Friday and started work at the school the following Monday,” Brown told the Hawker Squadron.
Brown had no trouble holding his audience’s attention while walking Hawker Squadron through the curriculum at the National Test Pilot School.
Based at the former Marine air station in Mojave, California (KMHV), NTPS boasts a broad array of aircraft, including T-38 Talons, Aermacchi MB-326M Impalas, the Beech 76A Duchess, a Saberliner NA-265, two Bulgarian MIG-21s and an array of Cessna, Diamond and Cirrus single engine sleds. Helicopters include the Bell OH-58C Kiowa and the Bell 212/UH-1N.
NTPS fills out some 42,000 square feet of hangar and classroom space at Mojave, and has privileges to fly in normally restricted Military Operating areas (MOAs) controlled by nearby Edward Air Force Base.
“When you’re doing flight testing, it’s not a good idea to mix with regular traffic,” Brown observed.
The NTPS program offers a full year-long training program that culminates in a Masters of Science degree (Brown put the cost of that program at around US$1 million). Also offered are short, specialty courses, such as Introduction to FW Performance & Flying Qualities Flight Testing (teaching practical in-flight testing), Night Vision Imaging Systems Evaluation Techniques and RPV (Remotely Piloted Vehicle) Flight Testing,
Flight school students come from the U.S. (including agencies like the Federal Aviation Administration) and abroad.
What’s it take to saddle up at the National Test Pilot School. “Just bring money,” Brown said.