6/27/2011–FORT MEADE, MD–Twenty-eight members and guests of Civil Air Patrol Maryland Wing's Howard Composite Squadron, which meets in Laurel, Md., learned how to safely conduct a preflight check of a Cessna 172P Skyhawk aircraft at Tipton Airport on Thursday June 16, 2011.
The activity began with a flight line safety briefing given by Lieutenant Colonel Ronald Whitehead and Cadet Second Lieutenant Kevin DeBoissiere, both members of Howard Composite Squadron. The activity then transferred to the flight line where each led half the squadron in conducting a preflight inspection of a Skyhawk.
Conducting a preflight inspection involves a number of activities, all listed on a preflight checklist. Items include ensuring all lights, radios, and other electrical equipment are functioning properly; sampling the fuel from both wing tanks to check for contamination, including water; verifying that all tie-downs have been released and secured; visually and manually inspecting control services to make sure they are functioning; and other tasks to ensure that the aircraft is working properly and safe to fly.
Lt. Col. Whitehead, who organized this event, retired in 1997 from the Delaware Air National Guard. He served five and a half years on active duty in the United States Air Force, nine and a half years in the Air Force Reserve, and ten and a half years in the Air National Guard. Lt Col Whitehead achieved the rating of Command Pilot and flew C-123, C-118, UH-1, HH-43, and C-130 aircraft as well as numerous trainer models. He is currently Howard Composite Squadron’s Aerospace Education Officer and Deputy Commander for Seniors.
Cadet 2nd Lt. DeBoissiere earned his Civil Air Patrol solo wings after soloing in a Cessna T-41 Mescalero at Tipton Airport through the Fort Meade Flying Activity. He serves as Bravo Flight Commander for Howard Composite Squadron.
Howard Composite Squadron would like to thank the Fort Meade Flying Activity for making the Skyhawks available. Additionally, thanks are due to the Tipton Airport Pilots Association and Maryland Wing’s Apollo I Senior Squadron for providing classroom space for the safety briefing and instruction.
Howard Composite Squadron meets on Thursday evenings in Laurel, Md. Details and a map are available on the Maryland Wing website at http://mdcap.org/index.cfm?fuseaction=unit.view&unitID=30 . Anyone interested in joining is welcome to visit a meeting.
Civil Air Patrol, the official auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force, is a nonprofit organization with more than 61,000 members nationwide. CAP, in its Air Force auxiliary role, performs 90 percent of continental U.S. inland search and rescue missions as tasked by the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center and was credited by the AFRCC with saving 113 lives in fiscal year 2010. Its volunteers also perform homeland security, disaster relief and drug interdiction missions at the request of federal, state and local agencies. The members play a leading role in aerospace education and serve as mentors to the more than 26,000 young people currently participating in CAP cadet programs. CAP has been performing missions for America for 69 years. It is the largest sponsor annually of Wreaths Across America, an initiative to remember, honor and teach about the sacrifices of U.S. military veterans. For more information on the Civil Air Patrol, visit www.gocivilairpatrol.com or www.capvolunteernow.com.
There are more than 1,600 members of CAP in Maryland. Last fiscal year wing members flew 42 search and rescue missions and were credited with 31 finds. For more information about the CAP, visit www.mdcap.org.