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(Enlarge) Capt. Dan Proffen (standing far right) facilitates a question-and-answer discussion at a mid-morning break during Group III's ground school.

Maryland Group III of the Maryland Wing of the Civil Air Patrol (CAP) conducted an aviation ground school at Tipton Airport, drawing more than 35 participants from the nine squadrons in the group.

Organized by 1st Lt. John R. "Jack" Foley, the group's deputy commander, the program was designed to help CAP pilots and other emergency services crew members prepare for the flying season.

"CAP operations inevitably involve highly stressful conditions and difficult go/no-go decisions," Foley said. "So this first-of-its-kind aviation ground school covered flight safety, regulations and CAP flying policies."

Capt. Daniel K. Proffen, a member of the wing's College Park Composite Squadron and a certified flight instructor and aerospace engineer at John Hopkins Applied Physics Lab in Laurel, Md., presented the group with a review of federal aviation regulations.

Capt. Michael Allen, a former systems engineer and consultant with IBM from the wing's Bowie Composite Squadron, made a presentation called "CAPR 60-1 for Dummies, Useful Information for Typical MDWG Pilots Conducting Typical MDWG Flights."

Proffen and Allen are experienced veterans in CAP flight operations and the audience was closely engaged during both presentations.

"Group III has taken the lead when it comes to training," Foley added, noting the importance of holding sessions such as this in combination with the group's ground and urban direction finding training programs.

Gary Cagle, president of CDI Medical Systems, a company that provides multi-use deployable medical systems to government agencies, allowed use of his company's facility at Tipton Airport's Hanger 85 for the training session.

At the end of the session, Maj. Wes LaPre, group commander, commended everyone for their positive and spirited participation. He concluded by presenting Foley and Cagle with Maryland Wing challenge coins in appreciation of their contributions to the success of the ground school.

CAP, the official auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force, is a nonprofit organization with more than 57,000 members nationwide. CAP volunteers perform 95 percent of continental U.S. inland search and rescue missions as tasked by the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center and also perform homeland security, disaster relief and counter-drug missions at the request of federal, state, and local agencies.

Last fiscal year, more than 1,800 of CAP's dedicated members helped hurricane victims. CAP aviators and aerial observers flew more than 1,000 air missions. Ground teams performed 131 missions and visited 4,266 homes and other volunteers distributed 30,000 pounds of relief supplies. CAP members also conducted 2,507 search and rescue missions, saving 73 lives. Throughout the year, CAP also took part in important homeland security missions; many CAP pilots flew target-intercept training for U.S. fighter pilots.

Members take a leading role in aerospace education and serve as mentors to the almost 23,000 young people currently participating in the CAP Cadet Program. CAP's cadet programs provide young men and women with a safe and motivating environment in which to grow and explore opportunities in the military and aviation industries. Cadets progress through a 16-step program of leadership and aerospace education. CAP has been performing missions for America for more than 65 years.

There are approximately 1,300 members of CAP in Maryland. Last fiscal year, wing members flew 34 search and rescue missions and were credited with 23 finds. For information about the Maryland Wing of CAP, visit http://mdcap.org.

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