Preparing for liftoff. Photos/video: Civil Air Patrol.


Press release from the United State Air Force’s Civil Air Patrol:

At 11:00 AM, Wednesday, March 23, 2022, the National Weather Service activated a test of the Civil Air Patrol airborne public address system (APAS) as part of their Tsunami Warning Communications Test. The Civil Air Patrol launched their aircraft and provided a message to be broadcast “This is a test of the Civil Air Patrol public address system”.

Civil Air Patrol dispatched aircraft and crews from Concord and Sacramento to fly the Del Norte and the Humboldt counties coastline with the aerial messaging system. A second aircraft launched to act as a command-and-control platform for radio relays between the one broadcasting aircraft and the virtual mission base. The purpose of this test was to educate residents and visitors along the coast to one of the many ways they may receive warning of an impending tsunami. According to Mr. Ryan Aylward of the National Weather Service “A tsunami could occur along the California coast caused by a large earthquake anywhere in the Pacific Ocean. A tsunami occurring in Japan would give approximately 11 hours of advance warning or five hours from Alaska or Hawaii, however an earthquake just off the California coast would provide only minutes of warning until the first wave arrives.”

The APAS was designed to provide messages directing the public to take action who might not otherwise receive emergency alerts. In addition to the airborne system counties have telephone notification systems and would utilize law-enforcement and other emergency services personnel to notify residents to get away from the coast and get to higher ground.

Aircrews from NorCal Group 5 and San Francisco Bay Group 2 have been diligently training on the APAS for the past week in preparation for the exercise on March 23. Five flights were conducted, and ten personnel were trained on the APAS.

Civil Air Patrol Lt. Col. Noel Luneau, the incident commander stated, “that it is important to exercise this system regularly so both the crews and the public react quickly and appropriately when a real-world emergency occurs.”

Maj. Randy Pesce briefs the weather in Del Norte and Humboldt counties prior to take-off from Concord. Photo by 2d. Lt. David McCrossan.

Lt. Col. Chris Suter inspects the Airborne Public Address System prior to take-off from Concord. Photo by 2d. Lt. David McCrossan.