Flying with the CAP

CAP aircrews hone excellent piloting skills through numerous missions. Over the years, CAP aircrews have provided assistance to numerous boaters in need. In addition, the squadron is tasked by the U. S. Air Force and other agencies for special missions. Other emergency services missions can include transporting medical technicians, lifesaving medicines and human organs for transplant. When disaster strikes, such as a hurricane, CAP provides emergency communication systems and gathers vital information for emergency management through aerial and ground reconnaissance.

The Civil Air Patrol offers many opportunities for volunteer service. There are numerous roles which initially require minimal or no prior experience. We provide training to develop skills for important roles of mission base staff, ground team, and aircrew. Some of the critical positions you can fill include:

Mission Radio Operator (MRO) – A ground based position which involves communication with the airplane while in flight or other CAP radio stations. Requires basic ES qualification.

Mission Scanner (MS) – An introductory but important flight crew position, where the Scanner sits in the back seat during missions and scans the ground looking for targets. Requires basic ES qualification.

Mission Observer (MO) – An advanced aircrew position which requires significant aeronautical knowledge and ability to operate the radios and navigational equipment, in order to assist the pilot. Requires Mission Scanner qualification.

Mission Pilot (MP) – The Pilot in Command (PIC) for all missions. Requires Mission Scanner qualification, Form 5 checkride, Form 91 checkride, etc. (see separate document on how to become a CAP pilot)

The squadron provides training for all of the above positions. Cadets are eligible for basic flight training, CAP does not provide basic pilot training for senior members. It is the personal responsibility of all CAP pilots to meet FAA requirements for currency in light planes including bi-annual flight review and medical certificate, and to meet the Private Pilot Practical Test Standards.

CAP Pilots have access to CAP airplanes for use to maintain currency of pilot qualifications. The personal expense incurred for using CAP aircraft is minimal, less than half of the typical hourly rental rate for a similar type of aircraft. The PIC is responsible for paying for the cost of the airplane. These cost may vary depending on Florida Wing charges and gasoline costs. Check with the unit’s Operations Officer for the latest rate. The airplane cost may be waived by the Air Force for actual missions, or by a Flight Release Officer.


Are you a pilot?

Click here for Pilot FAQs

If you’re a pilot, CAP has plenty of opportunities for you. CAP owns the largest fleet of single-engine piston aircraft in the nation, primarily Cessna 172s and 182s, and CAP pilots are able to fly those planes to perform CAP missions in service to their local communities. You can find the full list of requirements to fly for CAP under our Pilot FAQs.

CAP pilots fly reconnaissance missions for homeland security, search and rescue, disaster relief, and even counterdrug operations at the request of government or law enforcement agencies. They sometimes transport medical personnel and supplies and blood and live tissue. In times of disaster, they assess damage and transport emergency personnel from site to site. When not flying traditional emergency missions, cadet orientation pilots fly orientation rides for cadets and teachers while also maintaining their own proficiency.

The Civil Air Patrol’s aircraft are located at strategic locations throughout the nation to be readily available when missions arise. CAP members maintain these aircraft at the highest levels of safety and efficiency and have access to specialists at CAP National headquarters for maintenance, safety and training questions.

As a CAP pilot, you perform some of the organizations’ most important work. CAP is also a great place for you to meet and work with people who share your interest in flying and want to use their skills in a meaningful way.