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SD CAP Member Selected for National Drone Training

May 16, 2023

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Col. Mike Beason, South Dakota Wing Civil Air Patrol (CAP), was invited to be a member of the first national training class for a new category of photography drone aircraft. CAP uses drones, formally known as small Unmanned Aerial Systems (sUAS), for aerial mapping, damage assessment, and missing person searches.

CAP’s new hybrid drones, produced in Switzerland under the brand name Wingtra, take off and land vertically, like a rotary UAS, but fly like a fixed-wing UAS.

“The Wingtra flies very easily with all automated takeoff/landing and en route mapping,” said Beason. “The drone is pre-programmed before flight for its automated mapping.”

The introduction of the Wingtra fixed-wing drones expands CAP’s existing capability to stitch multiple drone photos together to create 3-D map models of targets, such as flooding rivers or damaged buildings, Beason said.

“Civil Air Patrol’s UAS program is set apart from local agencies using drones because CAP uses a standardized national training curriculum,” said Col. Michael Marek, SD Wing commander. “In addition, we use standardized mapping and photo analysis tools, as well, that integrate seamlessly with FEMA requirements.”

Beason, the SD Wing director of UAS operations, will assist in teaching the fixed-wing Wingtra class at CAP’s National Emergency Services Academy (NESA) in June.

Local agencies may request CAP’s services via the state Emergency Operation Center. 

Members of the public interested in becoming a CAP member to work in sUAS operations may contact South Dakota Wing at:

Tagged As: sUAS

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