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addo1
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« on: September 18, 2007, 07:26:29 AM »

I hope someone has not already posted this, but in the search for Steve Fosset, I ran across this new device.  This system is used solely by the Civil Air Patrol on searches, but Homeland also uses this.  Here is their article about it, but if anybody has personally used it, I would like to hear how it works.
http://www.caparcher.net/

P.S.- This might go better in the Aerospace category.

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« Last Edit: September 18, 2007, 11:27:18 AM by MIKE » Logged
Addison Jaynes, SFO, CAP
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AlphaSigOU
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« Reply #1 on: September 18, 2007, 07:56:00 AM »

I hope someone has not already posted this, but in the search for Steve Fosset, I ran across this new device.  This system is used solely by the Civil Air Patrol on searches, but Homeland also uses this.  Here is their article about it, but if anybody has personally used it, I would like to hear how it works.
http://www.caparcher.net/

P.S.- This might go better in the Aerospace category.

Addison flies a GA-8 with the ARCHER system (N614CP). I'm not ARCHER qualified, but I have seen how it works. Pretty neat stuff. Basically, the aircraft flies a precise pattern while the ARCHER system takes digital photos of a strip directly below the flight path. When the aircraft returns to base, the data is processed through the ARCHER ground station, where the operator tells it to concentrate on a specific color, such as an aircraft's paint scheme. Any 'hits' matching that particular color are marked for later analysis or another mission with a Mark I/Mod I eyeball crew.
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Lt Col Charles E. (Chuck) Corway, CAP
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« Reply #2 on: September 18, 2007, 09:33:06 AM »

I hope someone has not already posted this, but in the search for Steve Fosset, I ran across this new device.  This system is used solely by the Civil Air Patrol on searches, but Homeland also uses this.  Here is their article about it, but if anybody has personally used it, I would like to hear how it works.
http://www.caparcher.net/

P.S.- This might go better in the Aerospace category.

ARCHER is not, by any means "new".

A quick use of the search tool here would have found plenty of discussion about it.

If its really new to the people in your unit, you should probably discuss with your ES and AE people doing a briefing to bring everyone up to speed.

While its not readily available to all units, everyone should know we have it.
« Last Edit: September 18, 2007, 09:41:26 AM by Eclipse » Logged


AlphaSigOU
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« Reply #3 on: September 18, 2007, 09:40:45 AM »

And it wouldn't hurt to go on a field trip to Addison to see the GA-8. Have your commander contact our commander...  ;D
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Lt Col Charles E. (Chuck) Corway, CAP
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« Reply #4 on: September 18, 2007, 09:59:22 AM »

Does anyone know if you have to be a qualified aircrew member in order to take courses on how to use Archer? This is something really interests me, and it never hurts to know how to use something in the event that your Wing gets one  ;D
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addo1
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TRIXATION ILLUSIONS
« Reply #5 on: September 18, 2007, 10:02:41 AM »

I hope someone has not already posted this, but in the search for Steve Fosset, I ran across this new device.  This system is used solely by the Civil Air Patrol on searches, but Homeland also uses this.  Here is their article about it, but if anybody has personally used it, I would like to hear how it works.
http://www.caparcher.net/

P.S.- This might go better in the Aerospace category.

ARCHER is not, by any means "new".

A quick use of the search tool here would have found plenty of discussion about it.

If its really new to the people in your unit, you should probably discuss with your ES and AE people doing a briefing to bring everyone up to speed.

While its not readily available to all units, everyone should know we have it.

That is what I meant when I said "new".  You would be surpried how few people that I talked to really knew about it.  :)
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Addison Jaynes, SFO, CAP
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addo1
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« Reply #6 on: September 18, 2007, 10:03:33 AM »

And it wouldn't hurt to go on a field trip to Addison to see the GA-8. Have your commander contact our commander...  ;D

   Thanks!  I will do that.   ;D
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Addison Jaynes, SFO, CAP
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jeders
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« Reply #7 on: September 18, 2007, 11:22:58 AM »

Does anyone know if you have to be a qualified aircrew member in order to take courses on how to use Archer? This is something really interests me, and it never hurts to know how to use something in the event that your Wing gets one  ;D

ARCHER is an airborne asset, so I believe yes, you do have to be aircrew first.
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« Reply #8 on: September 18, 2007, 12:21:04 PM »

Does anyone know if you have to be a qualified aircrew member in order to take courses on how to use Archer? This is something really interests me, and it never hurts to know how to use something in the event that your Wing gets one  ;D

Yes, you must be at least a mission scanner.

In addition, you must take and pass a relatively difficult online curriculum and exam - it gets into the physics of light and radio waves, and has been described as "challenging".

Once passed, you must then be recommended by the Wing Commander to the Archer school, which is a week-long affair at NHQ.

Considering there are(is?) currently only one Airvan per region(ish), access to the airframes, and thus training and proficiency has also been described as "challenging".
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AlphaSigOU
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« Reply #9 on: September 18, 2007, 12:24:21 PM »

Following is the minimum qual for ARCHER operator:

Minimum mission scanner qualified.

Pass the online ARCHER screening exam - you currently have only one shot at taking and passing the test, and it's difficult enough to keep the pencil-whippers away.

Be within +/- 50 miles from an ARCHER asset location (for Texas Wing, within the DFW metro area)

Be selected to take further training at the ARCHER school either at Maxwell AFB or Mojave, California. Selection depends on budget and training needs, and the ultimate authority is the wing commander. CAP pays for the training, but it's a very tough school with demanding study and practical test requirements. Not everyone passes.

There's been talk about shifting the training to the local area, but it's been put on the back burner for now.
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« Reply #10 on: September 18, 2007, 02:11:09 PM »

If you take the online test make sure you take your time and have the proper materials handy.  You only get to take it once.   I took it the day it came out, read through it online and took the test right afterward.   I came close, but no cigar.  I can not try again according to the rules in effect at the time I took it.
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Daniel L. Hough, Maj, CAP
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« Reply #11 on: September 18, 2007, 02:21:41 PM »

Why do you only get one chance?
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wingnut
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« Reply #12 on: September 18, 2007, 04:51:25 PM »

The ARCHER science is way overblown, Hyperspectral imaging is being taught to High School Kids, junior colleges teach it in the geography department under GIS or geographical information systems or GIS. The archer is not a secret or classified, check the SPIE website and for 18 bucks you can read all about it. The on line test was not a good classifier of a persons ability to operate Archer, it had some TRICK questions. I have operated the system and I can tell you this, at least 1/2 of the operators can't fly because they throw their cookies in 20 minutes, now that is more important a reason to fail a person than spending 6 grand on the training and watching them refuse to fly missions later. The Archer technology once perfected will provide excellent potential for our use, however we need to consider that their is a difference between Archer image data analysis and a guy who presses a few buttons to start a track (Image Track).

Stay tuned for some new news on the Archer. . . soon
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addo1
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« Reply #13 on: September 18, 2007, 05:10:25 PM »

   Either way, you can take an online ARCHER training course and test if you want to.  Here is the link:                            http://atg.cap.gov/
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Addison Jaynes, SFO, CAP
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« Reply #14 on: September 18, 2007, 06:04:43 PM »

This is taken from the CAP website for the Archer Online Exam

"Welcome to the ARCHER online training course. CAP's ARCHER program has the intense interest of the highest levels of the US Government. Because of this it is critical that we select our very best people to train and operate the system.
 
 
The ARCHER contractor will provide training for 162 CAP members. This will permit an initial cadre of approximately 10 highly trained ARCHER operators per system. ARCHER trainee selection will be a very competitive process. Recommend members who take this course not discuss the material with other members because doing so could result in other people gaining an advantage (and getting selected) over you! The test associated with this preliminary training may only be taken once. "
 
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Daniel L. Hough, Maj, CAP
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« Reply #15 on: September 18, 2007, 06:14:51 PM »

The problem with ARCHER is not the technology, but our lack of understanding of how to get the most out of it. We simply don't understand the best uses for it. The bands utilized by ARCHER have value for different things, say one band is better for man made objects whereas another band is useful for say vegetation. We also haven't learned the best detect settings for the type of target in question. In ARCHER school we were taught the bare nuts and bolts of "ARCHERology", nothing more. As operators we have to make SWAGS as to what we are seeing because I would venture to guess none of us are remote sensing analysts or photogrammetrists. I feel the operators should be taught basic hyperspectral analysis as mission planners rely on what we tell them, especially in a case such as the Fosset search. I have said before that the most promising application is in the environmental area, as was done with the Coffeyville, KS oil spill in July. This mission was flown by Missouri and Texas Wings. Our goal was to determine the extent of contamination from this spill. MO also flew an extent of contamination mission following a chemical plant fire in Kansas City. With both missions the results were mixed, but promising.
Change detect also has environmental application as well as seismic utility. I am undecided as to anomaly detect, as ARCHER will hit on everything. While this to a large degree is related to detect settings, the potential for sending a ground team to check out a site that may well be cousin Cletus' junk pile is a real consideration. Even with exact match, that possibilty exists. I took signatures from KNOWN aircraft wreckage, loaded them into ARCHER and while we did find previously unfound wreckage, we also found a multitude of Jim Billy Bob's junk piles, blue tarps dead refrigerators, stills, rusty Volkswagens and who knows what else. Again a lack of training beyond the nuts and bolts and simply not knowing what things look like in ARCHER.
In a situation like the Fosset search, where there is a high probability of life threat, I question ARCHER's efficacy, mostsly due to positioning of the systems, difficulty in staffing the airplane and transit time. However we cannot discount the principle of "even a blind sow finds an acorn now and then." Simply right time at right place. But that applies to the old eyeball as well.
I agree with many critics that there was alot of hyperbole involved and that it was billed as the "silver bullet." But I also think that instead of poking sticks at it, the non ARCHER folks ought to be saying " Hey, I was wondering if this might be a use for ARCHER", or "what about that?" National has spent gazillions on this technology and I feel it is incumbent on us all to try and help it realize it's capability. When I was in ARCHER school, we were told that we are the ones who will be figuring out how best to use it. This is true, but again, making this work to our advantage is not just the responsibility of the ARCHER geeks but all of us. That is my opinion, I could be wrong.

Mark Anderson, Capt.
ARCHER Operator
Missouri Wing
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SJFedor
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« Reply #16 on: September 18, 2007, 06:16:26 PM »

  Either way, you can take an online ARCHER training course and test if you want to.  Here is the link:                            http://atg.cap.gov/

That's not an online training course. That's the screening exam to find elligible candidates that we were talking about earlier.
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« Reply #17 on: September 18, 2007, 06:44:53 PM »

I am curious, of all the posters in the various ARCHER threads, how many are operators?

Hoser
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AlphaSigOU
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« Reply #18 on: September 18, 2007, 11:25:28 PM »

I am curious, of all the posters in the various ARCHER threads, how many are operators?

Nichts mich... though our squadron is the ARCHER base for SWR/TX WG. (The other SWR ARCHER platform is in NM WG.)
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« Reply #19 on: September 19, 2007, 12:54:31 PM »

Not an operator either.  Like many was very interested in the concept at first and was going to apply for training.  However, after reading through the material I saw far to many limitiations on the technology and the way it's being implemented to make it effective for our use and decided not to pursue any further. 

Given the program's overall cost, not just in the ARCHER system itself but the platform  (ie GA-8) and training as well, I'm convinced that the program should be abandoned and the money reallocated to more effective solutions that offer greater mission impact.  ARCHER is a boondoggle.
« Last Edit: September 19, 2007, 01:39:50 PM by A.Member » Logged
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Hoser
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« Reply #20 on: September 19, 2007, 03:39:16 PM »

I'd like to know what these limitations are and what qualifies you to decide these limitations. Do you have training in remote sensing analysis?
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A.Member
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« Reply #21 on: September 19, 2007, 06:32:07 PM »

I'd like to know what these limitations are and what qualifies you to decide these limitations.
What are the limitations?  I shouldn't have to explain that to an operator.  First off, HSI was really developed and is best suited for geology and agricultural use, not SAR.   As you eluded to in an earlier post, ARCHER is essentially a solution in search of a problem.  That's not a very practical approach.  What's more, is that I didn't decide anything; much of it's stated right here

But, off the cuff...
  • ARCHER can be used during daytime only.
  • Good weather only.
  • Cannot see through water or snow.
  • Must fly at higher altitude (over 2x) and speed than 172/182, thus signifcantly reducing POD for any other observers on board the aircraft.
  • Significantly smaller scanned area per pass/track = ~0.1 mile

In other words, ARCHER does nothing to expand our current operations. 

  • Cost for the imaging equipment alone is in excess of $200K/per unit (total cost is in excess of $5M!).
  • Previous figure does not include the cost of the platform (GA-8) which is another ~$450K/per aircraft (~16 total units implemented). 
  • Significantly higher training/proficency costs.

And that doesn't even address the maintenance costs.  Again, ARCHER does nothing to measurably enhance/expand our current operations.  At the same time, it significantly increases our overall costs of operation.

Given this, with any objective cost benefit analysis, one is hard pressed to justify this system. 

Money would be better allocated to systems that enhance our safety and mission capabilities/effectiveness.  As an example of some ideas:

  • All 172s and 182s should be equipped with Micro-VGs.  Given the type of flying we do this a long overdue no-brainer.
  • For about the same price as ARCHER, perhaps a little less based on the NG Bureauís purchase price, FLIR systems couldíve been installed on over 25 existing 172s/182s.  If we factor in the savings from not needing to purchase the GA-8s, we couldíve equipped another 40 aircraft with these systems.  That means every Wing could have at least one advanced technology aircraft, and for larger Wings even two.  Such a system would allow for expanding missions into nighttime and lower-visibility conditions.   
  • A few AMS or similarly equipped aircraft might also enhance HLS mission opportunities.
  • The money spent on ARCHER could also have gone a long way in getting a lot more people Form 5'd. 

The point is that the money is better spent elsewhere. 

What qualifies me to say these things?  Probably about the same things as you.  I've read the material on ARCHER.  Also done subsequent reading on imaging systems.  I'm a pilot and aircrew qualified.  I've participated in SARs.  I've seen ARCHER demonstrated. 

Any more questions?
« Last Edit: September 19, 2007, 11:14:40 PM by A.Member » Logged
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« Reply #22 on: September 19, 2007, 09:22:57 PM »

At the National Conference in St. Louis awhile back, I attended a seminar on ARCHER, in which it was implied that it had been used by CAP in a variety of actual missions, the nature of which were too secret to divulge ( BS meter pinning hard!) I came home and took the one-time-only test and passed with flying colors. Basic 7th grade science stuff. I never heard back form anyone on additional training, and I have not met any ARCHER qual'd people face-to-face since then, but it seems that it had designed-in limitations. Most critically, it lacked thermal, or IR ( as opposed to near IR ) imagery. Thermal imagery could actually help us spot warm things, like people, fires, and warm engines on the ground. I was told that it had been considered but that the powers that be decided it had law-enforcement applications (god forbid!) and we would violate Posse Comitatus! (Sweet mother of Buddha! Do these people live on our planet?) I am not aware that it has ever been credited with a real life find, let alone a save, but it does have potential if they can get the C-Squareds to quit demanding limitations. ( thats CAP, we are all about our limitations!)

Major Lord
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« Reply #23 on: September 20, 2007, 04:36:12 AM »

I am in partial agreement with Hoser since I am both a remote sensing analysts and a photogrammetrists, and I am CAP trained by the MFG at a CAP class to operate the spectrometer and have  been Authorized to operate the Archer without the School. I see several problems.

1. ICs have not a clue on how to use the Archer resource.
2. CAP and the Air Force are going through a review and possible upgrade recommendation to the Archer system.
3. Remote sensing training in addition to the Archer data analysis training is highly useful.
4. I am extremely excited and hopeful for the Archer potential uses, in both SAR, and environmental services.

The UC and CAL State systems utilize DOD assets all the time for Research, once Archer is fixed think of the possibilities, it will be a boon for CAP to fly missions for the national Forrest service, park Service, land Management. In 2000 we paid 4000 for one U2 hyperpsectral image, remember CAP has a history of providing service to the comunity far beyond sar
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A.Member
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« Reply #24 on: September 20, 2007, 08:52:46 AM »

1. ICs have not a clue on how to use the Archer resource.
This is not really an IC issue.  It has more to do with our mission orientation.  The simple fact is that ARCHER is just not a great SAR tool.  If it were, every other SAR outfit, including the US military and other agencies (foreign and domestic) would utilize it as such.  They don't.  Instead they use FLIR systems and such.   

It's too bad that NASA placed the development of SAR2 on perma-hold, that looked interesting - even if it initially may not have had direct applications for CAP.

As far as I can tell, the ROI on ARCHER just isn't there.
« Last Edit: September 20, 2007, 10:18:08 AM by A.Member » Logged
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Hoser
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« Reply #25 on: September 20, 2007, 04:30:02 PM »

First I have NEVER said ARCHER is a good SAR tool. In fact unless one gets lucky, it is in my estimation, of little value with a life threat. Second POD is an overused term, I don't care much about it, I am concerned with POS, which granted is influenced by POD. I don't give a rip if your POD is 100% if your POC is 2% your POS is 2%. Bottom line. Thirdly, the snafus with SDIS makes real time analysis at mission base an exercise in futility. ARCHER's value is in change detect and environmental anomaly match and detect. Why can't people get that through their thick skulls? I have used Thermal imaging and understand how it works and its value and its limitations and for SAR, a much preferable technology.
As to limitations, my guess is they are in the software, not the HSI CCD.
ARCHER is more valuable as a data gathering and analysis tool than a SAR tool, although it has made finds, I had one of them. Once people understand it is for more than SAR the utility will become apparent. As wingnut said CAP provides more services to the community than SAR. It seems in the multitude of posts wondering about how our missions may change or that they may dry up, I think having a technology that will support and even generate new missions is a good thing. Come on folks, GET PAST the ideas that, 1: ARCHER is a good SAR tool, 2: that it was billed as a silver bullet and they were wrong, and 3: that it is a worthless technology. They said the same thing about the airplane and pushing that technology got Billy Mitchell court martialed.
The comment that ARCHER doesn't expand our current operations is myopic and limiting. It NEEDS to expand our operations into new areas. Get past your obsolescent paradigm.
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« Reply #26 on: September 20, 2007, 04:42:01 PM »

Come on folks, GET PAST the ideas that, 1: ARCHER is a good SAR tool
Yet, that's exactly what it why it was developed and purchased, using HLS funds.  From the manufacturer's site:
Quote
Although primarily intended for enhanced search and rescue capabilities, CAP has found many additional uses for ARCHER, including missions for homeland security, disaster assessment, and drug interdiction.
Hmmm.

3: that it is a worthless technology.
I never said it was a worthless technology.  What I did say, however, is that the ROI is such that the money is much better spent elsewhere.   The fact that cost benefit is not a consideration in the discussion is the only thing I consider myopic.  This is the basis of the argument which you are ignoring.

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« Reply #27 on: September 20, 2007, 05:50:20 PM »

The cost -benefit is what it is right now as ARCHER hasn't been exploited to develop new missions for the system which will generate funds. Yes we do charge clients for both the system and the airplane
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A.Member
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« Reply #28 on: September 21, 2007, 10:25:29 AM »

And therein lies the problem.  $12 - $13M, probably more, was wasted purchasing a system that has no defined mission for effective use.   

Rather than performing our due diligence by outlining issues that we want/need to address, defining the requirements needed to address them, and then looking at products that meet those requirements, we simply purchased a product with the thought that we could somehow find a use for it. 

Now, a couple years later, we're still trying to find an effective use for it.  We don't know who our customers might be for this system nor do we know what their needs really might be.  It may even be that the market is extremely limited and/or that it doesn't fit well within the scope of our organization's missions/goals.  Regardless, the result is that we're not really charging anybody anything right now.  That is a foolish approach.
« Last Edit: September 21, 2007, 11:34:16 AM by A.Member » Logged
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Hoser
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« Reply #29 on: September 21, 2007, 05:24:18 PM »

You have made the perfect arguement for my position that we need to stop poking sticks at ARCHER and collectively try and find applications for it.
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« Reply #30 on: September 21, 2007, 06:08:04 PM »

You have made the perfect arguement for my position that we need to stop poking sticks at ARCHER and collectively try and find applications for it.
???  Ah, no. 

I understand that you've put some time into training and don't want to think it was for nothing but what's being said is probably much closer to: "Cut our loses now.  Get rid of the thing for as much as we can.  Do a proper needs assessment and allocate the funds appropriately based upon the results of the assessment." 

Do you ever wonder why so few people are volunteering to train with the GA-8 and ARCHER?  Sitting around trying to dream up missions for the thing is a further waste of resources.  This whole thing was rather half-baked, IMO.

Looks like we're obviously going to have to just agree to disagree on this issue, and that's fine.
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Hoser
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« Reply #31 on: September 21, 2007, 07:14:08 PM »

If it turns out the time and effort invested in training is for nothing, it won't be the first time and probably not the last. As to volunteering for ARCHER and Ga8 duty, it's kind of difficult as there are only 16 of them. Personally I don't pay attention to who is or isn't wanting to be involved with the program, that's not my concern, that's National's. I ind it funny that the agencies that are interested in tasking ARCHER are outside of what CAP's "normal" mission profile. I still think that the hyperbole that preceeded it did more disservice than it's present lack of tasking
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Dragoon
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Posts: 979

« Reply #32 on: October 03, 2007, 10:52:41 AM »

I'm pretty sure that a lot of the ARCHER money was a congressional "plus up" - meaning if we hadn't done ARCHER, we wouldn't have gotten at least some of those millions.
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Ricochet13
Seasoned Member

Posts: 240

« Reply #33 on: October 08, 2007, 03:16:08 PM »

You have made the perfect argument for my position that we need to stop poking sticks at ARCHER and collectively try and find applications for it.

Don't get discouraged here.  New concepts, new ideas, are always confronted by the "old guard".   And, of course, ARCHER participation is not available to all so there is the issue of selectivity and that encourages negative views. 

Keep working hard to demonstrate the abilities of the system.  The role and missions of ARCHER are an on-going process and there are many good examples of innovations meeting resistance.  Whatever became of the ideas of Billy Mitchell?  Even the court-martial didn't stop his ideas. 

Maybe ARCHER doesn't pan out, maybe it does, but at least someone tried something.   ;)  I can support that.
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CAP Talk  |  Operations  |  Aviation & Flying Activities  |  Topic: ARCHER
 


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