A South Dakota Wing aircrew’s aerial view of the LifeLight crowd.
Spidertrack graphics allowed wing officials to keep constant track of their aircraft.
The Sioux Falls Composite Squadron's CAP Cessna 182 en route to another flight over the festival.
Lt. Col. Rick Larson
South Dakota Wing
SOUTH DAKOTA – Members of the South Dakota Wing were busy over the weekend of Aug. 31-Sept. 2 assisting the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Department by providing eyes in the skies over the massive LifeLight Christian Music Festival near Sioux Falls.
Col. John Seten, wing commander, said the wing has been helping local law enforcement agencies as part of a training mission that employs the latest airborne technology. “We look for missions that fulfill a dual role… providing our crews with opportunities to stay sharp in advance of emergencies” Seten said.
The wing’s project officer for the mission, 1st Lt. Neil Schmid of the Sioux Falls Composite Squadron, said that “real-time aircraft tracking, airborne photography and interoperable communications were all used during these flights,” with the Spidertracks tracking system allowing officials to monitor the locations of assigned aircraft every minute they were in the air.
“Use of this system is a huge step forward in ensuring our crew safety as well as allowing CAP commanders a chance to view altitude, airspeed and heading for our planes during operations,” said the wing’s vice commander, Lt. Col. Rick Larson.
In all, 12 wing members flew and arranged the three flights to aid in traffic control and crowd safety, marking the fifth year Civil Air Patrol has assisted during the event, billed as the largest festival of its type in the nation, with attendance eclipsing 300,000 in recent years.