Local News

Civilian Planes May Soon Be Used For Homeland Security

Posted April 2, 2003

— Small planes may not look like they could protect you, but it may soon be a vital piece of our homeland security.

The Civil Air Patrol, the auxiliary of the Air Force, was founded 62 years ago under homeland security. The patrol relies on volunteer pilots and support personnel. The group has 1,600 members in North Carolina.

Over the years, planes primarily did search and rescue missions, but with recent terror alerts, their mission will soon change to include patrolling large gatherings like this year's Festival of Flight.

"Don't be surprised at the festivities this year in Fayetteville and out on the coast where we'll be pretty prevalent, you'll see several of our aircraft up in the air," said Maj. Norm Wisniewski, of the Civil Air Patrol.

Even in the air if the Highway Patrol puts its helicopter up, it costs three times as much per hour compared to the Civil Air Patrol.

"We have our own type of digital imaging equipment that we can mount in our aircraft and we can go up and survey various areas for the government," Wisniewski said.

Nationally, the Civil Air Patrol provided security support at the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City.


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