HARTFORD - The Civil Air Patrol acts as a volunteer branch of the US Air Force monitoring emergency situations from the sky.
Here in Connecticut, the patrol keeps an eye on the Long Island Sound for rescue missions, but this winter they’ve been especially busy monitoring ice jams along the Connecticut and Housatonic Rivers.
The Coast Guard cutters which cut through the ice, utilize the aerial views provided by the Civil Air Patrol to plan their courses up the river. Throughout the country the Civil Air Patrol has over 50,000 members, here in Connecticut they have nine single engine aircraft that can be deployed at any given time.
The adult members are mostly made up of former pilots and first responders, but those between the ages of 12 and 18 can enter the patrol as cadets and are trained by the adult members.
First Responders on the ground rely heavily in the patrol to provide a view from above, often time seeing the emergency situation as a whole from a birdseye view as opposed to being on the ground.
Being a member of the patrol is rewarding to the members that we spoke with, they feel that volunteering in the group not only provides a way to keep flying, but also helping their own community when first responders need the assistance.