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Young Air Patrol pilots get training to fly drones



Folks spending Saturday morning on one part of Goose Island might have heard some buzzing sounds over their heads, and it wasn’t mosquitoes. They were hearing, and maybe seeing, drones.  

Young cadets with the Civil Air Patrol were learning how to send drones above the river, as practice for future search missions. 

The president of the AVCAP aviation group, Todd Mandel, thinks the Air Patrol will get good use out of the drones.

“It has a lot of great benefits,” said Mandel. “It’s certainly more cost-effective. It costs about $5 an hour to operate the drones, whereas it costs upwards of a hundred dollars an hour to operate the aircraft.”


Chason Mireau was among the local cadets figuring out how to pilot a drone, during training on Goose Island.

Mireau thinks the project is “very cool,” saying he’s been interested in drones for a long time.    “I think a lot of kids would like being involved in something like this. It’s very fun, it’s very interesting. I’ve learned a lot of things.

The Civil Air Patrol received grant money from the La Crosse Community Foundation, to buy laptop computers that will show operators what the drones are seeing.        

A native of Prairie du Chien, Brad graduated from UW - La Crosse and has worked in radio news for more than 30 years, mostly in the La Crosse area. He regularly covers local courts and city and county government. Brad produces the features "Yesterday in La Crosse" and "What's Buried on Brad's Desk." He also writes the website "Triviazoids," which finds odd connections between events that happen on a certain date, and he writes and performs with the local comedy group Heart of La Crosse. Brad been featured on several national TV programs because of his memory skills.

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