Cellpic Sunday – 30 August 2020

Jamestown, North Dakota.

Since early in the pandemic, Civil Air Patrol (CAP) has been volunteering for missions to assist state and local agencies in many ways. Given my availability to assist, I’ve been part of North Dakota’s team of volunteers who help coordinate the delivery of PPE, test kits, and other necessary supplies. Early on, our wing’s pilots delivered PPE around the state and even moved supplies between North Dakota, South Dakota, and Minnesota at the request of the respective state governors. For many weeks, our mission in North Dakota went dormant as the supply chain filled up and the National Guard and other agencies were able to support the needs of our healthcare system in the state.

In early August, we got a request from the North Dakota Department of Health and the Department of Emergency Services to assist in transporting test kits from the testing sites to Bismarck for processing at the state’s laboratory. The need for our service is due to the large number of students returning to colleges around the state. As this is being written in mid-August, our responsibility assigned is the delivery of kits from the eastern colleges, the University of North Dakota at Grand Forks, Mayville State University at Mayville, North Dakota State University at Fargo, and the North Dakota State College of Science at Wahpeton.

I volunteered to fly the first transport from Wahpeton to Bismarck. To accommodate the large, secure outer packing of the kits, we ordered the removal of the rear seats in the aircraft currently assigned to the Fargo squadrons, (a Cessna 182T for those interested). The entire flight plan deployed without a hitch beginning with a 20-minute flight to Wahpeton. I arrived early, waited about 15 minutes until the National Guard Team showed up and transferred the first batch of tests to me along with a Chain of Custody document. I arrived in Bismarck slightly late due to insufficient time allotted for the transit and 20-knot (23 mph) headwind. The National Guard transport team came out to the plane before I completed the after-flight paperwork. The kits and documentation were transferred, I requested an aircraft refueling, and prepared for my flight back home to Fargo.

About the photo: The weather was beautiful throughout the entire state. Pilots would have shortened that condition to three letters, “VMC”, (Visual Meteorological Conditions). As I flew over the southern end of the city of Jamestown, I was struck by the view of the city. I aimed my Samsung S20U at the city and captured the late afternoon view. That “X” toward the top of the photo is the concrete runways of Jamestown Municipal Airport, about 100 miles (161 km) from my home in Fargo. After downloading to my computer, I cropped the image to focus the viewer on the city and processed for clarity and haze removal using both Adobe Lightroom and Luminar 4.

John Steiner


  1. From up high there’s no sign of the state of affairs down below. From the published daily figures it would seem COVID still has the US in a terrible grip. What’s the situation where you reside, John – are things easing up?

    • The southern US is especially hard hit. Here in North Dakota, the bigger cities have an ongoing problem, but it’s nowhere near what’s going on elsewhere in the country. (Big is relative. Our state only has 762,000 residents total.)

      • I am glad to hear that you’ve been spared the worst of it there in the geographic centre of the continent, John, and trust your sparsely populated, and presumably very rural, state will see this through relatively unscathed.

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