Ways to Serve
Visualize Your Role in CAP
There are many ways to serve in Civil Air Patrol. Many members come to Civil Air Patrol because they are interested in aviation, but there are many opportunities to serve which do not directly involve aviation. Below are some common roles in our squadron, and descriptions of each.
Please note: These roles involve different combinations of the facets of CAP progression (professional development, duty position, operations qualifications, and promotions).
- Air Exercise Coordinator: As a squadron which focuses on Emergency Services, we execute frequent training flights. But, training flights don't happen spontaneously; it takes effort and planning to ensure that an effective plan is met by a qualified aircrew, a working airplane, good weather, and ground-based support staff. Each Emergency Services training flight takes about 8 hours to coordinate. Our dedicated and friendly staff makes the job look easy but they always need help and fresh perspectives to improve the process.
- Simulator Instructor: As a part of Jeffco's committment to Aerospace Education and Cadet Programs, we offer flight simulator training to adult and youths. For some people, flight simulators are their first exposure to aviation where they learn about the basics of flight and are exposed to the discipline required to fly. Many of our Simulator Instructors are actual flight instructors, but anyone can serve as a Simulator Instructor if they have the knowledge, skills, and attitude. A flight instructor certificate is not required.
- Safety Officer: Safety is a key element of everything we do in CAP. Safety officers help keep everyone's flying and non-flying activities safe by constantly reminding us of our commitment to safety through safety presentations, safety briefings, and risk assessment. No special training or qualifications are required to act as a Safety Officer.
- Aerospace Education Presentation Coordinator: One of CAP's main missions is to provide aerospace education to the public. Jeffco serves this mission by providing monthly aerospace education presentations. The Aerospace Education Presentation Coordinator decides the topics and speakers and coordinates the times for these presentations.
- Orientation Ride Coordinator: Civil Air Patrol provides up to 10 orientation flights (up to 5 in a powered airplane and up to 5 in a glider) to CAP youths. An Orientation Ride Coordinator communicates with cadets, pilots, aircraft schedulers, and parents to ensure flights are conducted efficiently.
- Radio Operator: When CAP air or ground assets are performing objectives (especially operations involving both air and ground assets), it is important to maintain positive radio communication so crews become aware of changes in the environment or objectives. Mission Radio Operators us the independent CAP radio network to exchange operational information like position reports, re-taskings, and status of mission objectives. What a fast-paced and fun job!
- Mission Scanner: When CAP is tasked to search for damage or missing people, the mission scanner is equally important as the pilot or navigator. The mission scanner's job is to look out the window of a flying aircraft to visually see the mission objective. There is nothing more rewarding than finding a person whose life depends on you.
- Mission Observer: The Mission Observer is arguably the most important crewmember because they are responsible for designing and controlling the execution of a flight, sometimes called a sortie. It is the Mission Observer's job to decide where, when, and how the sortie is executed. In a way, the Mission Observer is the brains of a sortie, where the Mission Pilot is just steering the airplane and the Mission Scanner detects sortie success.
- Transport Mission Pilot: CAP aircraft frequently need to be relocated from one place to another so that a mission can be accomplished. A Transport Mission Pilot is an FAA-certificated pilot (private pilot or higher) who is familiar with CAP operations required to move aircraft safely in support of the mission (or in support of maintenance).
- Mission Pilot: Mission Pilot is perhaps the most demanding of CAP Operational Qualifications. A Mission Pilot is responsible for overseeing the roles of all the airplane's crewmembers to ensure the mission is being executed safely, all while handling the demands of being a pilot. Mission Pilots must hold an FAA pilot certificate (private pilot or higher), must have 200 hours of logged pilot-in-command time, and must be a Mission Scanner.
- Orientation Pilot: Civil Air Patrol provides up to 10 orientation flights (up to 5 in a powered airplane and up to 5 in a glider) to CAP youths. An Orientation Pilot can conduct these flights without being a flight instructor. Often, Orientation flights are fully-funded, meaning the pilot does not need to pay for flight time accrued when serving as an Orientation Pilot.
- Air Operations Branch Director: In times of emergency, or in times of a coordinated emergency exercise, it is important to ensure that aircrews/aircraft are clear on their assignments and they receive any changed information in a timely fashion. Aircraft and aircrews must also be assigned to disparate areas to avoid aircraft collisions. The Air Operations Branch Director is an experienced aircrew member who coordinates assignments of other aircrew members during a large-scale emergency or large-scale emergency exercise.
Civil Air Patrol is the United States Air Force Auxiliary, and expects standards of behavior which reflect credit upon the country and the U.S. Armed Forces.