Alabama CAP essential during coastline catastrophes
Hurricanes made national headlines in 2004 and 2005 as Katrina and Rita inflicted catastrophic damage across miles of coastline. This is when the Alabama Wing first used Civil Air Patrol’s ARCHER (Airborne Real-time Cueing Hyperspectral Enhanced Recon) technology to assess levee damage. The wing also fielded the nation’s first operational real-time processing hyper-spectral imaging system.
Several missions and several years later, CAP flew into action again after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill began on April 20, 2010, in the Gulf of Mexico. A multistate Civil Air Patrol effort launched immediately. Over four months, CAP volunteers flew more than 1,000 flights totaling more than 2,500 hours over 700 miles of coastline. The long flight hours enabled volunteers to capture more than 28,000 pictures. These photos were essential due to the GPS coordinates, dates and times attached to each, enabling state and federal agencies to assess the oil spill’s potential effects on the coastline, barrier islands, wetlands and fishing industry. Deepwater Horizon has been described as CAP’s largest mission since World War II.
In April 2011, Alabama was hit by numerous severe storms. On April 27 alone, 62 tornadoes tore across the state. By April 28, a Presidential Disaster Declaration was issued. More than 60 volunteers from the Alabama Wing soared into action after state emergency management and local authorities requested help. Overall, members put in 877 volunteer hours and more than 45 hours of flight time.