Staff Sections

Main Content

NC Wing Group 3 Holds Airborne Photography Training

Men with camera
1 of 3
2d Lt Rod Cushing (left) testing out the Nikon camera as 2d Lt Ted Chatham looks on. Photo Credit: 2d Lt Liz Dunster, CAP (click image to view full size)
Story Tools

First Group 3 activity organized in Halifax

3/28/2018––Saturday, 17 March 2018 saw the first group-wide activity organized by Group 3 - a class in Airborne Photography (AP) held at the Halifax Northampton Regional Airport. Weather reports for most of the prior week had threatened rain on Saturday, but Mother Nature co-operated with the event organizers: 1st Lt Robert Rimmer, Maj Fred Draper and Maj James Newton; beautiful clear blue North Carolina skies greeted the 21 class participants. The AP students came from all five Group 3 squadrons, as well as the Raleigh-Wake and Johnston County Composite Squadrons. 

The morning session was in the classroom and included learning about correct use of the Nikon D90 and the Nikon D7100, the cameras used by Civil Air Patrol for AP missions. According to Maj Draper, the best time for a photo mission is between 10h00 and 14h00, as shadows are shorter and less visible during these hours. He also advised that the photographer should understand what the customer wants before going up, resulting in a better photo mission. CAP cameras were passed around the room and participants were encouraged to test them out while Maj Draper talked about their correct use. The class went outside to try the cameras out as well. Maj Draper went on to describe the various flight patterns that are used for taking the photographs, including the Circling Imaging Flight Pattern, 4-Square Imaging Flight Pattern and the Bird’s Eye Imaging Pattern. Participants were also given instruction on how to correctly upload photographs to FEMA, using the FEMA uploader.
The afternoon was spent flying AP sorties. The Mission Pilots were Maj Ricky Jones from the Pitt-Greenville Composite Squadron, Maj Anthony Green from the Halifax Composite Squadron and Maj Fred Eldredge from the Cunningham Field Composite Squadron. Senior Member Dave Hopewell, a retired USAF pilot, was one of the first students to go up and described the AP class as “very interesting and informative.” He said that, “It greatly expanded my idea and scope of the CAP mission. Trying to provide a suitable, quality photo documentation from a bouncing, somewhat unstable platform is not as easy as one might think and at times can be quite challenging.”
After flying, the students went through their photographs with Maj Draper and Maj Newton and practiced using the FEMA uploader. Senior Member Dave Hopewell said, “Reviewing my photos was a treat to see that out of all the pictures taken, there was at least one good photo from each axis of flight.”  
Students enjoyed and appreciated the class. 2d Lt Rod Cushing from Elizabeth City said that he “learned the importance of the Airborne Photographer sitting with the Mission Pilot and with the customer prior to the mission. This ensures not only the correct target, but the needed views of the target based on intended use of the imagery.” Cunningham Field’s Capt Kim Morton said, “It was a fantastic class.” 
2d Lt Nicholas Green from Tar River said, “I was excited to complete my Airborne Photographer training at this Group 3 AP training session. AP had always seemed to be valuable, but the real-world impact did not hit me until one of our squadron members, Lt Col Viventi, presented to our squadron on his participation in the Airborne Photography mission to document the after effects of Hurricane Maria on Puerto Rico. That presentation showed me the real-world applicability of the AP skill set and how valuable the photographs are to emergency management after a natural disaster.” Senior Member Dave Hopewell described the instructors as “professional and well qualified,” and went on to say that they were “willing to answer any questions to ensure that we had a good grasp of the subject.”
Maj Anthony Green, Commander of the hosting unit, MER-NC-169 said, “I would like to thank Major Draper and Major Newton for instructing along with 1st Lt Rimmer for setting up our Group 3 Airborne Photography class. We had a great turnout and received some much needed training to enable us to have enough personnel to meet the needs of our Wing and possibly be used in other Wings or Regions. I look forward to more opportunities for cross-training with other Squadrons and Groups in the future.” 
Maj Draper expressed appreciation to all the Wing members who participated in the class and 1st Lt Robert Rimmer said, “Considering that it was our first training activity as a group, we had great participation. Maj Fred Draper and Maj Jimmy Newton did an awesome job as instructors.” Lt Rimmer went on to thank the Halifax Composite Squadron for hosting. Maj Richard Laviano, the Group 3 Commander said, “Way to go Group 3! Thanks to 1st Lt Rob Rimmer and the rest of the team who made this possible!”