The Chronicle

Washington Civil Air Patrol Squadrons Conduct Drone Training in Centralia

April 3, 2023

emergency beacons. UAV
Civil Air Patrol (CAP) Volunteers help train each other during drone certifications conducted last Saturday at the Centralia Christian Church. The CAP utilizes drones as part of their search and rescue efforts.

After the full search and rescue exercise originally scheduled for March 25 by seven different Washington Civil Air Patrol (CAP) auxiliary squadrons was postponed to April 29 due to inclement weather, volunteers from several squadrons still met up to conduct drone and emergency beacon location training. 

Volunteers gathered at Centralia Christian Church, the headquarters for the Lewis County CAP Auxiliary squadron. While cadets from the Lewis County squadron conducted uniform inspections and a promotion ceremony inside of the church, other CAP volunteers participated in the CAP’s small unmanned aircraft systems certification, which taught them how to safely pilot small drones. 

CAP utilizes the aircraft to help search and rescue efforts, easily giving rescuers a bird’s eye view of hard-to-reach locations in which a person might be lost. Volunteers also practiced tracking and locating emergency beacons. 

More drone training will occur during the full search and rescue exercise, accompanied by a full practice mobilization of all the CAP’s resources, including Cessna 172s and 182s flying out of Chehalis-Centralia Airport. 

CAP’s website states, “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 … of the Air Force, CAP operates the world’s largest fleet of single-engine aircraft for search and rescue, disaster relief, training and education.” 

A total of 26 CAP auxiliary squadrons currently exist in Washington. For more information, including how to get involved, visit 

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