Civil Air Patrol‘s Deepwater Horizon Response has surpassed 10,000 volunteer hours and 1,000 hours of flight time providing aerial oil spill reconnaissance along the Gulf Coast. As the official auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force, CAP pilots fly the coastline daily to monitor and document oil control efforts, while scanners onboard take photos of booms deployed along the shoreline. The images, as many as 3,000 each day, provide valuable information to agencies managing the response.
This spill response is CAP’s biggest mission since World War II, when civilian pilots who founded the organization used their own aircraft to keep German U-boats away from America’s East and Gulf coasts. To date, CAP aircrews have launched 497 sorties and logged 1,099 flight hours. In all, 239 CAP volunteers have put in 10,361 hours in support of the mission.