Aerospace Education

Many join CAP because of an interest in aviation. Nationwide, CAP is a major operator of single-engine general aviation aircraft, used in the execution of its various missions, including orientation flights for cadets and the provision of significant emergency services capabilities. Because of these extensive flying opportunities, many CAP members are or become licensed pilots. CAP also reaches out to the general public through a special program for teachers at all grade levels. Through this program, CAP provides free classroom materials and lesson plans for aerospace education.

Cadet Programs

CAP’s cadet program trains young men and women in teamwork, moral leadership, aerospace education, technical skills to support emergency services, and military history and customs. Through leadership encampments, career academies and other activities during the summer, a college and flight training scholarship program, and the International Air Cadet Exchange, CAP cadets broaden their horizons, learn to assume responsibility, gain confidence and set goals for their lives.

Emergency Services

Perhaps best known for its search-and-rescue efforts, CAP flies around 85 percent of all federal inland search-and-rescue missions, directed by the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center. CAP is expanding its role in the 21st century to include an increasing number of homeland security operations and exercises. CAP also performs counterdrug reconnaissance missions at the request of law enforcement agencies and performs aerial damage assessment after natural disasters. CAP members undergo rigorous training to perform these missions safely and cost-effectively.

CAP in Virginia

The Virginia Wing of the Civil Air Patrol consists of 24 local units (squadrons and flights) that vary in membership from 10 to 130 members. The Virginia Wing has more than 750 adult (“Senior”) members, and more than 700 cadet members, ages 12 – 21. At present, the Virginia Wing has 11 aircraft assigned to it (Cessna 172s and 182s) and 24 corporate vehicles (mostly vans).