Pre-Flight Check #2: Why You Should Consider Joining the Civil Air Patrol

For those of you who do not know what the Civil Air Patrol is, it is the United States Air Force Auxiliary. CAP was founded on December 1, 1941, just six days before the infamous attack on Pearl Harbor. During World War II CAP flew reconnaissance missions along our nation’s coast, and helped keep German U-boats from sneaking into the Gulf of Mexico and in the coastal waters of the Atlantic.  Today CAP is comprised of thousands of volunteers who have a deep love of aviation and the United States. There are two main groups of CAP members, Cadets and Senior Members. Cadets ages range from 12 to 21, but must join before their eighteenth birthday to be put in the cadet program. Senior members are individuals eighteen and older who have a love for aviation, community, and country. CAP has three missions, they are Aerospace Education, Emergency Services, and Cadet Programs.

” I owe a lot to CAP. No other organization provides the opportunities, the friendships, or the leadership training that Civil Air Patrol offers. I would have never made it this far had it not been for CAP.” – C4C Zachary-Scott Neal, USAF Academy

 

Aerospace Education

Out of CAP’s three main mission, Aerospace Education is the only on to be required by the government once CAP was founded. Through Aerospace Education CAP leaders get to educate the public as well as its members on aviation, which includes orientation flights for cadets, aerospace activity nights and model aviation equipment for people to be able to learn to fly models.

 

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Cadets get to fly aircraft, build model rockets, conduct science experiments and much more!

Emergency Services

The Civil Air Patrol assists the Air Force and local agencies in times of need. CAP is responsible for almost 90% of flights for search and rescue missions conducted by the Air Force, and help find many missing persons and aircraft each year. CAP also helps with local and wide scale disaster relief and supports local communities in many different ways.

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One of thousands of Cessna aircraft used by CAP. This picture was taken on departure for my first O-flight.

Cadet Programs

Cadets get to learn about aviation, physical fitness, leadership, responsibility, and much more. Each new cadet receives ten orientation flights (O-Flights), five in powered aircraft and five glider flights. During each flight the cadet gets to take the controls of the aircraft and get a feel for what it is like to fly, as well as learn about weather, stalls, and many of the intricacies of flight.

A picture I took on one of my powered flights

A picture I took on one of my powered O-flights above Purvis, Mississippi.

 

My Experience

I have been a cadet for nearly a year and a half, and I can say that I have truly enjoyed my time in CAP. From going to Regionals in the Cadet Competitions while in the color guard to being able to fly a GA-8 (Gipps Aero) aircraft, my experiences in CAP have truly helped me branch out into many things, including public speaking and getting involved in teaching aerospace to others. CAP teaches our nation’s youth the importance of stepping up and getting actively involved in making a difference in aviation, the community, and the world. CAP is one of the things that inspired me to start a blog and reach out to people about the joy of flight. As a cadet I was able to take my first ever flight; before I had ever flown I always knew that Aviation was right for me, and as soon as that small Cessna began picking up speed along the runway I knew I was home. As the plane broke the bonds of gravity that tie us down I felt as I never had before; those that have flown and love aviation understand when I say there is no way to describe it. At that time you as an individual get to do something man has dreamed of for thousands of years, to join the birds of the skies. As you begin the takeoff roll and are slightly pushed back by the acceleration of the plane you feel a sense of achievement, not in yourself, but in mankind. For so long have we dreamed to be able to fly, and mankind worked until we could achieve that goal. Within nearly fifty years of the Wright brothers flight we had landed a man on another celestial body. Innovations in flight now allow for private pilots the opportunity to take to the skies without having to be ‘made of money’, so the next time you pass an airport remember the fun you have flying, and get back up in the air. Fulfill our ancestor’s dreams, and as you look up at the stars at night, remember those same ancestors stood and looked up at the stars in awe, and know that we can explore that vast unknown.

Fly safe, and remember, have fun!

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The GA-8 that I got to fly in January, 2016.

 

For more information on the Civil Air Patrol, its missions, and how to join go to http://www.gocivilairpatrol.com/

Also, please check out some of the amazing aircraft available for purchase and other aviators’ blogs at https://www.globalair.com/

 

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