Archive for January 25, 2015

OCS Cadets enjoy first O-Rides of 2015

Omaha Composite Squadron Members take advantage of unusually warm January weather to go flying

Maj. David Coover walks the cadets through a preflight inspection of the aircraft.

On Saturday, January 24th, several Cadets from the Omaha Composite squadron took part in one of the most exciting aspects of cadet life: Cadet Orientation Flights.  The cadets arrived early morning, and proceeded to meet their Pilot in Command, Maj. David Coover, who walked them through the standard Preflight Checklist of the Aircraft.  The aircraft used for the Orientation Rides was one of the Squadron’s Cessna 182T NAV III Technically Advanced Aircraft.

Maj. Coover explains the technique for visually verifying the amount of fuel in the aircraft.

Cadets learn the importance of inspecting all components and systems for safe operation of the aircraft.  They also learn to apply the knowledge they have gained previously from extensive classroom instruction, and apply it during each of the five syllabus lectures that they will receive througout the Orientation Ride Program.  Some topics include Aviation Weather, Traffic Pattern Operations, Aircraft handling and Aerodynamics. All cadets are eligible to participate in five glider flights and five powered flights before age 18.  The program is provided at no cost to the cadets.

Cadets onboard and ready to fly!

Once the preflight was completed, Maj. Coover reviewed the flight syllabus with each cadet, they all boarded the aircraft, and taxied towards the runway.  In total, five successful Orientation rides took place on this unusually warm January day.

A GPS track of one of the afternoon Orientation Rides.


What are the pilot’s qualifications?

CAP pilots are licensed by the FAA. Moreover, pilots must meet additional requirements set by CAP. For powered aircraft, they will have over 200 hours as pilot-in-command in the class of aircraft they’re flying, or 100 flights in the case of gliders. Further, all pilots will have passed an annual written exam that tests their airmanship, passed an annual check flight with a CAP check pilot, demonstrated a thorough knowledge of the cadets’ flight syllabus, and received the approval of their wing commander. In short, CAP requires much more from the pilots who fly your son or daughter than the federal government does.

Do cadets actually fly the plane?
CAP does allow cadets to handle the controls while aloft. Learning how planes fly is the main goal of the program. However, the pilot remains in command at all times, and only the pilot will fly the airplane during takeoff, landing, and other critical moments of the flight.

Do cadets fly in inclement weather?
No. Cadets fly only in fair weather, under conditions that the FAA calls “visual flight rules.”


What type of aircraft do cadets fly?
With few exceptions, most cadets will fly in a CAP-owned single-engine Cessna, or a glider.  Each cadet is entitled to 5 glider flights and five Powered Aircraft flights.

How long is the flight?
In powered aircraft, cadets are aloft for 45 to 60 minutes. If two cadets fly at once, they share 90 to 120 minutes of flight time. In glider aircraft, the flight time will depend on the soaring conditions.

Where do the cadets fly?
A small airport near your hometown will probably serve as the day’s base of operations. The cadets may stay in the immediate vicinity, or fly to a nearby airport, land, switch seats, and return to the original airport.

What do cadets learn while aloft?
Each flight has a theme. Flights focus on basic maneuvers, aircraft instruments, weather, etc. A detailed syllabus guides the pilot.

Cadet Orientation Flights: Safe, Fun and Educational

We hope the information provided will reassure parents about our commitment to each cadet’s safety.


By 2d Lt Marcia Moran

The Omaha Composite Squadron held an Emergency Services training exercise on Saturday, January 3, 2015. Those in attendance included all air crew (pilots, mission scanners, and mission observers), ground team members, and all other mission essential personnel. This table top discussion was orchestrated by Major Steve Johnson and was a great way to kick off a brand new year for the OCS.

All in attendance were asked to bring with them items they would

Maj. Steve Johnsons conducts the table top exercise.

use as part of a CAP Search and Rescue. This included the all-important CAP ID cards, 101 cards, flight gear and sectionals for the air crew, 72-hour packs for the ground team, plus checklists, and any other necessary items for the entire emergency services team.

Before the discussion started, Lt Col McCartney showed the attendees the ES crew monitoring board used to manage and monitor aircrew positons, ground team positions, crew rest, and names of those who can fill the designated positions based on 101 cards and training. This is a simple, at a glance check, to see who is available for the mission, if they are currently active on the mission, who is on the required 12 hours for crew rest, and where there are necessary positions that need to be filled.

Both Senior and Cadet members of the squadron were in attendance

The table top exercise started with focus on proper regulations and procedures in conducting airborne and ground searches. All were reminded of the proper check-in procedures, and then were given a brief of the mock scenario, in this case, a downed aircraft west of the Council Bluffs area.

Maps and sectionals were used to review the area. The ground team was able to locate roads to reach the search area, and the pilots were able to plot a course. While a search would be done on the ground and in the air, it was stressed just how important communication would be between the teams and to have a good communication plan. Practice radio conversations were held, and the ground team learned how to log all transmissions and radio checks.

Communications out procedures were reviewed, including how ground teams can fold a tarp to signal the aircrew. Also, the aircraft in-flight maneuvers for passing navigation instructions to the CAP van.

Other things all crewmembers must remember include:  obtaining permission from a land owner before venturing onto private property, using the buddy system to mitigate possible injury response, continually passing mission status information to the Incident Command Post, keeping as complete a radio log as possible, and using the interview sheet to interview witnesses, etc. All members must attend a mission aircrew/ground team debriefing, and must fill out all necessary reports to ensure a proper and complete Incident Action Plan may be completed. Finally, all who responded to the emergency must check out with mission control (Incident Commander/IC representative) when it’s time to check out from the incident Command Post.


By Marcia Moran

5th Annual OCS Dining Out took place at Omaha’s Arbor Hall

The Omaha Composite Squadron enjoyed their 5th annual Dining Out on December 1, 2014. Appropriately, this was also the birthday for the Civil Air Patrol. The event was held at the beautifully decorated Arbor Hall in Omaha. Though the night outside was quite chilly, the inside was warm and inviting. All who attended witnessed an evening of promotions, awards, good comradery, and “Mr. Grog”.

LtCol. Robert McCartney and Brigadier General Richard Evans III

The guest speaker for the evening was USAF Brigadier General Richard Evans III. He is the Deputy Commander, Joint Functional Component for Global Strike, US Strategic Command, Offutt AFB. Other honored guests representing the Civil Air Patrol include Colonel Robert Todd (Commander, North Central Region), Colonel Darrell Nelson (Commander, Nebraska Wing), Lieutenant Colonel Darrell McMillan (Vice Commander, Nebraska Wing). The Omaha Composite Squadron command staff for the evening includes Colonel Robert McCartney, USAF (Ret) as the President of the Mess, and C/Major Austin Henry as the Vice President of the Mess, “Mr. Vice”.

Presentation of the Colors

The evening started with the presentation of the colors by the OCS Honor Guard, followed by USAF SMSgt Jimmy Weber singing the National Anthem while playing his acoustic guitar. Beautiful!

C/Maj. Austin Henry priming “Mr. Grog”

Colonel McCartney then gave a heartfelt welcome speech. This was followed by the chef’s presentation of Le Boeuf to the head table, then the priming of Mr. Grog. This was a feat in itself as Mr. Grog is a toilet in which one must pay homage to should there be a “rule breaker” among the group!

Buffet being served

Dinner was then served buffet style and included rolls, green beans, mashed potatoes, chicken and beef, as well as delicious desserts of brownies, cupcakes and cookies. There was plenty to go around and no one should have left hungry! The chefs at Arbor Hall did an outstanding job proving such a meal.

LtCol. McCartney bragging about his meal to Capt. David Lewis.

USAF SMSgt Jimmy Weber enjoying the evening with OCS cadets and their families.

C/LtCol Christopher Pineda pays a visit to Mr. Grog

The POW/MIA table was recognized at this time. It is a very symbolic reflection, as it represents those that are missing, and reminds us to never forget.

Brigadier General Richard Evans then gave a powerful speech, which included a lot of Nebraska history, the Air National Guard, the USAF Reserve, and how they all tie into the beliefs and structure of the Civil Air Patrol.

Brigadier General Evans addresses the attendees.

Col. Robert Todd, Col. Darrell Nelson, BGen Richard Evans III and Col. Robert McCartney prepare for the award presentations.

After his speech, Brigadier General Evans, Colonel Todd, Colonel Nelson, Lieutenant Colonel McMillan, and Colonel McCartney helped hand out greatly deserved awards and promotions. A huge congratulation goes out to all the recipients. They are:

  • Aerospace Officer of the Year – 1st Lt Eric Perquin
  • Cadet Aerospace Officer of the Year – C/LtCol Christopher Pineda
  • Cadet Officer of the Year – C/LtCol Christopher Pineda
  • Cadet NCO of the Year – C/TSgt Elizabeth Nelson
  • Junior Cadet of the Year – C/SrA Catrionna Garrett
  • Most improved Cadet – C/TSgt Matthew Johnson
  • Senior Member of the year – Maj John Pineda
  • Pumping Heart Award – C/Maj Austin Henry (fastest mile!)
  • Ancient Order of the Lightning Rod – C/SrA Cory Sieler (Tallest Cadet)
  • On Time Award – 1st Lt Alan Goldfarb
  • Gill Robb Wilson Award – Colonel McCartney

 The following received Squadron Commander’s Commendations:

  • SM Laura Cejka – Administrative Officer
  • C/CMSgt McKenna Kruegar
  • C/Maj Austin Henry
  • C/Maj Matthew Norrie

The following received promotions:

  • C/2dLt Ethan Copple, also received the Billy Mitchell Milestone Award
  • C/SSgt Catrionna Garrett, also received the Wright Brothers Milestone Award
  • C/A1C Brandon Marquez
  • C/TSgt Matthew Johnson

C/TSgt Nelson received the Cadet NCO of the Year Award

C/SrA Garrett received the Junior Cadet of the Year Award

C/LtCol Pineda received the Cadet Officer of the Year and the Cadet Aerospace Officer award

LtCol McCartney receives the Gill Robb Wilson Award certificate for completing Level V of the Senior Member program.

C/Maj Henry received the “Pumping Heart” Award

C/SrA Sieler received the “Ancient Order of the Lightning Rod” Award

Following the awards and promotions was the Change of Command between Colonel McCartney and Capt David Lewis. In this brief ceremony, Colonel McCartney, with his hands on the squadron flag, tells the Wing Commander, “I relinquish command”.

LtCol. McCartney relinquishes command of the Omaha Composite Squadron…

He then steps aside and Capt Lewis, with his hands on the squadron flag, tells the wing commander “I assume command”.

Capt. David Lewis assumes command of the Omaha Composite Squadron

The Omaha Composite Squadron welcomes Capt Lewis as their new commander, but also takes the time to recognize Colonel McCartney for the enormous efforts and endless hours as Squadron Commander. He was awarded a plaque on behalf of the squadron and was also remembered in an amazing video marking a year in review of the Omaha Composite Squadron.

LtCol McCartney presented Brigadier General Richard Evans III with a small token of appreciation on behalf of all the members of the Omaha Composite Squadron.

The Dining Out celebrated many milestones and gave everyone an opportunity to dress up and wear their best of uniforms. A great time was had by all, as it was an evening to recognize and celebrate all the accomplishments of 2014. We can only imagine what 2015 brings to the Omaha Composite Squadron!


By Maj Tom Pflug

Burke High School Students visit the OCS aircraft hangars at Millard Airport.

Over 40 Omaha Burke High School aviation students visited Millard Airport recently to inspect two CAP aircraft. Lt Col Robert McCartney, 1st Lt Eric Perquin, and Major Tom Pflug of the Omaha Composite Squadron hosted the tour.

Following up on recent classroom lessons, the students participated in “pre-flight inspections” of the CAP Cessna 182 airplanes guided by Lt Col McCartney and Lt Perquin.  Everyone had a chance to move ailerons, sump fuel, and manipulate flight controls.  Lt Col McCartney further enhanced the

students’ experience with anecdotes from his years in the USAF while Lt Perquin demonstrated the
capabilities of the G1000 “glass

Students sump fuel from the airplane’s tanks as part of the pre-flight procedures.

cockpit” flight instrumentation and navigational system.  For many of the visitors, this was their first chance to get close to a real airplane. LeeAnn Vaughan, the aviation science instructor at Burke, expressed her appreciation for the opportunity to enrich her students’ classroom experiences with time in and around operational airplanes.

Omaha Composite Squadron is providing ongoing support to the Burke High School aviation program and its efforts to establish a school squadron as a permanent feature of Burke’s aviation and space academy.

LtCol McCartney extends his famous handshake to an unsuspecting student.

Omaha Composite’s C/Lt Col Christopher Pineda is serving as a liaison and de facto cadet commander of the Burke unit as it takes its first steps toward a formal CAP charter.  (Photos courtesy of LeeAnn Vaughan.)

Students were given the opportunity to sit and learn about the aircraft used in real-world Civil Air Patrol Missions.


A simulated airport environment at Burke High School.

OCS 2014 Milestone Award Recipients

Congratulations to all the Omaha Composite Cadets who earned a milestone award in 2014!