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Civil Air Patrol pilots practice high-flying photography in Gainesville exercise
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Four aircrafts from Gainesville, Peachtree-DeKalb, Lawrenceville and Athens took off Saturday morning to take pictures of targets during 90-minute missions.

“They are training exercises for our crews for our main mission for whatever the state or federal government gives us,” said Lt. Col Richard Ivy, who served as the air operations branch director for the exercise.

Civil Air Patrol began performing wartime missions during World War II. Now, the group provides assistance to state and federal agencies during emergencies.

“One of our main missions now is to take accurate photographs,” Ivy said.

Civil Air Patrol crews will also perform search-and-rescue missions after reports of downed aircrafts.

“That doesn’t happen all that often, but it does happen once or twice a year in this area,” Ivy said.

Lt. Col Jack Arnold, who joined Civil Air Patrol in 1999, provided the safety briefing before the crews took to the skies.

Crews were tasked with locating the target, photographing it and returning to the Gainesville base.

“In some cases, we’ll have photo missions where we send people out to take pictures of bridges, dams, buildings of a certain type and they have to do that in such a manner that there’s no part of the airplane captured in the photo,” Arnold said.

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