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Virginia Civil Air Patrol conducts mountain flying training

June 23, 2024

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WINCHESTER, Va. (Jun 23, 2024) – Civil Air Patrol’s (CAP) Virginia Wing held a Mountain Search and Rescue Flight Training Course, known as “Mountain Fury,” at the Winchester Regional Airport, this past Saturday, Jun 22.  


Civil Air Patrol pilots from units across the Commonwealth including Roanoke, Richmond, Chesapeake, and other areas gathered in Winchester for training. After classroom instruction, each pilot took a flight with a mountain flying qualified mission check pilot to become certified. The course covered key topics surrounding the mountain terrain including crossing mountain ridges, canyon turns, density altitude, hypoxia, changing weather conditions, and more.  


Virginia Wing has 12 aircraft in total. The wing supports different missions upon request. The primary assistance provided is search and rescue assistance for downed aircraft or missing persons. In addition, imagery of key areas before and after hurricane and tropical storm activity was provided in the past to key agencies. The wing also flew aerial surveys of the roads between Richmond and Quantico at the request of the state Department of Emergency Management and Department of Transportation after the region’s heaviest recorded snowfall in several years. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the wing flew COVID-19 test kits to the eastern shore and transported them back to the University of Virginia.   


“Despite what some may think, the Commonwealth of Virginia is quite mountainous and can present unique challenges for search and rescue units,” said Lieutenant Colonel Jeff Van Etten, Incident Commander and Course Director. “Keeping our skills sharp and pilots trained are all key to maintaining readiness in the event we are asked to assist in such an effort. Thank you, Winchester Regional Airport, for supporting this event!” 


About Virginia Wing 

Civil Air Patrol's Virginia Wing is home to 21 squadrons spread throughout the Commonwealth and has approximately 2,250 members, 12 light aircraft, 6 small unmanned aerial systems (sUAS), and 28 multi-mission vehicles. These assets are available to federal, state, and local governments, as well as to emergency responders and law enforcement agencies to perform search and rescue, homeland security, disaster relief, humanitarian assistance, and counter-drug missions. For more information on Virginia Wing, visit the wing’s website at


About Civil Air Patrol 
Founded in 1941 and established as the official civilian auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force seven years later, Civil Air Patrol is chartered by Congress as a nonprofit organization for the purposes of youth development, aerospace education, and to promote general aviation. In an auxiliary role as a Total Force partner of the Air Force, CAP operates the world’s largest fleet of single-engine aircraft for search and rescue, disaster relief, training, and education. Civil Air Patrol is dedicated to serving America’s communities, saving lives, and shaping futures. 

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