Attendees of Durango's Fourth of July parade must have noticed the single-engine Cessna 182 that buzzed the crowd to start the parade, but they might not have been aware they were witnessing a national security training exercise.
The local wing of the Civil Air Patrol was asked to kick off the parade, and the group took advantage of the situation, drafting a full flight plan that called for the plane to hang out behind Smelter Mountain until 5:59 p.m. and wing-wag at Ninth Street and Main Avenue.
The CAP often is asked to assist the U.S. Air Force in training exercises, playing targets that violate no-fly protocols and other roles. The squadron also needs low-flying experience for search-and-rescue operations.
"It's very precise. It's a lot of fun, but it's also great training," said CAP Captain Michael Anaya-Gorman.