With the recent announcement of the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD’s Team Air Force posture, Civil Air Patrol (CAP) is officially considered as an integral part of the U.S. Air Force (USAF), and its missions are changing. No longer restricted to search and rescue or disaster relief, CAP aircrews are finding themselves fulfilling federal requirements that take them well beyond the shores of the U.S. These over-water flights in single-engine aircraft add another measure of risk, one that dictates added vigilance and more preparation training. Ditching,as landing in the water is considered, is quite survivable, as the statistics show, but knowing what to do when you have to ditch the aircraft is essential for survival.
On November 21, 2015, CAP Florida Wing’s Group 5 held a water survival course in Marco Island that was attended by aircrew members representing three CAP squadrons from two CAP groups. The local host was Squadron Commander Bob Corriveau’s Marco Island Senior Squadron. Bob’s connections with the Marco Island YMCA helped arrange the use of the YMCApool – a required venue for the practical in-the-water portion of the training. The aircrew members have to demonstrate swimming skills and raft boarding ability while dressed in flight clothes and footwear.
Bob provided coffee and donuts; his well-appointed CAP hangar meeting room at the Marco Island Executive Airport was used for the classroom instruction. Former CAP member Alan Davis, flight instructor and owner of Career Aviation and Training at the Marco Island Executive Airport, let the CAP trainees use one of his four aircraft for theegress (evacuation) drills.
Marco Island Squadron attendees included David Dumas, Bob Dohm, Richard Farmer, Lyle Odland, Jim Picone, Bob MacNeill and Dave Walsh, who also was a water survival instructor. Naples Senior Squadron trainees were Ron Hemond and Dom Dasilva. Dom was another donut contributor. Coming across the state from the East Coast’s Merritt Island Senior Squadron was Sal Bologna, Ken Manfra and Squadron Commander John Wilson. Dave Moruzzi, the Group 5 safety officer, was another water survival instructor. Reserve Captain Gustavo Betancour was in attendance as an official USAF observer.