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ScubaSven 01-13-2004 13:17

Civil Air Patrol Questions
 
I have browsed their website and requested an information packet, but I'd like to know if any GT members are involved and your experience.

I'm intersted in the general civil-service aspect, homeland security, as well as exposure to flying. I have an FAA private pilot's license, but only about 100 hours flight time and I haven't flown in about five years. Any chance I can eventually work my way back into the cockpit through CAP, or must I get proficient on my own before they will be interested in having me as a member?

LtTripMD 01-13-2004 13:45

i was in for a while in high school. it's really geared towards the kids. it may get you back in the cockpit, but it may not. if that's your main objective, there are probably better routes.

i would sign up to help out your local CAP only if your first priority is the kids.

also, the CAP is vastly different from town to town. some sights don't even have planes.

trip.

ScubaSven 01-13-2004 13:53

Honestly, exposing kids to flight was not my main aspiration. The CAP website presents itself as a hands-on organization that is actively involved in search-and-rescue and homeland security patrol.

C150J 01-13-2004 17:59

In my area, and most I know of, there actually isn't too much SAR/"Homeland Security" stuff. Most of the CAP people that actually fly are very qualified, usually having more than 700 hours.

The agencies that got the brunt of the flying duties after 9/11 (other than the ANG) were USCG and ICE (although their pilot positions are on a "CG" scale, as I THINK most aviation assets have been handed over to the CG).

J.

ajw8875 01-14-2004 01:17

I was a cadet (youth member) in CAP for over 7 years. The first squadron I belonged to did little to no flying, SAR, ES etc.. in that squadron we did a lot of marching and military training type of stuff. When I moved squadrons after a few years, my new unit (only about 45 miles from the first) we ran on at least 1 SAR, ES mission a week. Just due to the remoteness of the unit from others. In fact we were so busy usually that the sq commander authorized All Emergency Services qualified cadets to carry pagers and even cleared it with the Cadet's respective schools. So with that in mind it all depends on the unit's locations and the commanders priorities.

Asha'man 01-14-2004 22:37

Guess this is as good a first post as any. :)

I was a cadet in CAP until I started college last semester (I'm 19 - I know, I could still go, but meeting nights and school nights coincide). Made it to C/CMSgt in about a year and a half, was flight sgt., had attended an Encampment (USAFA baby!), and it was overall a great experience. My squadron wasn't very big or active, though. We had no planes and hardly any access to any, and although our officers kept wanting to get into GSAR, it never happened. Other local squadrons are hot and heavy into GSAR - just goes to show that you should pick your squadron carefully depending on what your goal as a member is. I'm assuming the original poster would be joining as a senior member? Bring some good skills and knowledge, as well as just be a cool guy, and you'll be welcomed among the cadets.

Ash

LtTripMD 01-15-2004 11:13

welcome Asha'man.

glad you're aboard.

trip.

Sgt H 01-22-2004 11:04

I was a senior member in two Ohio squadrons. Both were composites (Cadet and Senior member mix).

CAP is GREAT!!! You can get back in the cockpit! There are certain requirements to be met (no suprise) but it will be worth it.

I talked to the Dept. Wing Commander for Indiana a while back. He told me CAP was going to be given more and more Homeland Security responsabilities. He said the people in that 5 sided building in Washington were saying good things about CAP. :)

I would visit a squadron and see/hear first hand from the senior member pilots what they do and how to get started.

CAP is a very respectable organization and one you'll be proud to be a member of.

hapuna 01-22-2004 15:33

Scuba,
For some reason I think you are in WA State. If thats true you should know that SAR is conducted by the State Of WA. Here is their website. http://www.eskimo.com/~c180tom/
I believe they are supposed to coordinate with CAP. This has not always worked so well in the past due to personality conflicts but seems to be working better now.
I believe in either case you start out as an observer in the plane and slowly graduate to PIC. I believe you could use their resources to get current again and I think this may be a good way for you to do it.
If you're not from WA. forget everything I just told you.:)

Skyhook 01-22-2004 17:26

CAP Pilots Sq. commander eight years
CAP Group Commander Two years

I had seventy cadets (avg) and many of those went into the service or ROTC programs after high school.
Those kids learned how to work together, assume responsibility as leaders, and act as ladies and gentlemen. The Cadet Corp did some things for the poorer kids they might have not found elsewhere- we managed to find uniforms for all of those willing to stay around and accept discipline and display good judgement and manners. Encampments were trying but rewarding and there was always something enjoyable to experience.
The SAR business for CAP went into the crapper about the time the NYSP took over.
The Cadet mission stayed the same and is the most valuable part of the entire program.

ScubaSven 01-23-2004 00:58

Quote:

Originally posted by hapuna
Scuba,
For some reason I think you are in WA State. If thats true you should know that SAR is conducted by the State Of WA. Here is their website. http://www.eskimo.com/~c180tom/
I believe they are supposed to coordinate with CAP. This has not always worked so well in the past due to personality conflicts but seems to be working better now.
I believe in either case you start out as an observer in the plane and slowly graduate to PIC. I believe you could use their resources to get current again and I think this may be a good way for you to do it.
If you're not from WA. forget everything I just told you.:)

Sorry Hap, I'm in Las Vegas. I'm awaiting my application/info pack, then I'll contact the local branch. Considering all the recreational activity in the surrounding desert, and the terrorism threats, I'm hoping that search-and-rescue and the security issue will have a practical application here. From what I've heard so far, it is very location-specific.



Skyhook, thanks for the info. Very inspiring.;?

ScubaSven 01-23-2004 01:04

Quote:

Originally posted by Sgt H
I was a senior member in two Ohio squadrons. Both were composites (Cadet and Senior member mix).

CAP is GREAT!!! You can get back in the cockpit! There are certain requirements to be met (no suprise) but it will be worth it.

I talked to the Dept. Wing Commander for Indiana a while back. He told me CAP was going to be given more and more Homeland Security responsabilities. He said the people in that 5 sided building in Washington were saying good things about CAP. :)

I would visit a squadron and see/hear first hand from the senior member pilots what they do and how to get started.

CAP is a very respectable organization and one you'll be proud to be a member of.

Thanks Sgt. H! I will get in touch with some local senior members and see what's going on out here. :)

mbsigman 01-23-2004 22:48

Howdy.

In the eighties I was a Captain on the deHavilland DHC-8 'Dash 8' flying for a large regional airline based in ATL. At that time I had about 12,000 hours and a current CFI-CFII-CFI/ME. Aviation had been good to me, and I thought it was time to give something back. Called the Marietta, GA chapter of the CAP to volunteer my time and services. Told the man my qualifications and current employment and equipment being flown. I was mainly interested in volunteering my time and aviation knowledge, taking the cadets up for some training and showing them how much fun flying can be, and maybe even getting some kids thinking about an aviation career. As I recall, this chapter had access to a C172 and a C182. At the time I had about 2000 hours in the 172 and about 100 hours in a C182RG.

I was shocked at the attitude that I received. I was told that I would have to purchase uniforms and manuals (ok, I can live with that) at my own expense and then take a myriad of tests to prove my competence with CAP procedures (huh?). It was absolutely mandatory that I comply with their uniform policies and appearance code. (Hello - I fly for the airlines. We already HAVE a mandatory uniform and appearance policy!) Then I would have to get checked out in their C172. (Ok, no problem.) Oh, but this was no normal checkout - it would probably take not less than five hours, and probably be closer to ten hours. (Ten hours for a 172 checkout for an ATP rated, IFR current airline Captain??) After I'd flown their 172 for a while (what's a while - 6 months? No, he said, probably closer to a year) they'd consider me for a 182 checkout. They'd CONSIDER me. And by the way, our 182 checkout is very extensive and usually takes not less than ten hours and is typically more than ten hours.

Ten hours? For a 182 checkout?? Are you kidding? Dash 8 (37,500 pounds under FAR 121) Captain training was ten hours!

The man then proceeded to demand (and that's the only way to put it - it was a demand) that I attend each and every chapter meeting, which at the time was held on Thursday nights. Exceptions to this policy were not permitted. I tried to explain that with airline seniority and bidding on schedules on a monthly basis, there was no possible way that I could guarantee that I could make each and every meeting. I told him that I could give him my word that I'd make a good faith attempt to make as many meetings as I could, but if I got outbid for Thursdays off then I simply wouldn't be able to attend for that particular month. He told me that if I couldn't attend all the meetings then I couldn't play.

With that I thanked him for his time and hung up.

My brother was in CAP when he was in junior high school. He didn't get to do any flying, but I will tell you he wore a wig to hide his hair (good giggly wiggly, that thing was double-ugly!) and he got really good at marching in the parking lot.

Please - no flames! This post is not meant as a CAP bash-fest. CAP is extremely important in SAR ops and other functions. The thread originator asked for information and experiences regarding CAP. Additionally, I'm sure that for each supremely anal chapter like this one there are others around the country that are more interested in making aviation fun to kids, and perhaps I could get involved with one of those someday. I still keep my CFI-CFII-CFI/ME current and perhaps somebody could find me useful. For all the problems in the airline industry right now, I'd still like to give something back to aviation.

But I will tell you that I was sure turned off by this experience! I hope your experience is better than mine was.

Mike

Skyhook 01-24-2004 04:33

That guy sounded like his squadrons were filled to capacity and he had a waiting line.
In my units we had fighter jocks fresh out of service, B-fiddytwo drivers and other similar types and they all underwent orientation/evaluation to assure they could handle our T-34s and C-172s, C-182s while conducting various types of searches in the Adirondack Mtns. A lot of the flying was close to the ground in marginal wx (we tried to get up as soon as possible and bad weather was almost always a factor), so the insurance, etc required each pilot had a complete check ride demonstrating proficiency.
I think the guy you talked to made a big mistake in not explaining what the unit had to do and wanted to get you to do. They lost a good man, Mike.

mbsigman 01-24-2004 15:48

Mr Skyhook,

Thank you for your very kind words. Also, I appreciate the information that you conveyed; the person from CAP with whom I spoke didn't bother.

The SAR mission is indeed critical, and it is not easy flying. I can understand the need for specialized training and were I to get involved in that aspect of CAP I would WANT that training. And CAP is darn good at it. Frankly, all I wanted to do was get involved with the kids and try to show them how cool flight can be, and leave the SAR to those who had been doing it for years and were good at it. Discipline? Sure it's important. My recurrent checkride is due in April and I have to discipline myself to start studying a month ahead of time, and that's after flying this beast for a pile of hours. But if we don't make flying fun for the kids, who are our future, then our own future is in doubt. Isn't it?

I've received PMs from others who have described ego trips and political maneuverings that would rival the Pentagon. My own brother told me this morning that in all the time he was involved with CAP, he got one forty minute ride in the back seat of a ratty old C172, and that was it. He punched out when he discovered girls were more fun than marching box patterns in the parking lot.

Yet my wife made a comment about all this today. She said that for every chapter with egomaniacal people like that running the show, for all the Colonel Klinks out there that are more concerned with how they look in the eyes of the Air Force then whether or not the kids are learning something about aviation, there are probably others that are terrific.

As usual, she's right. Maybe it's time for me to drop a dime to the local chapter out here and see if they could use a hand.

Thanks again for your kind comments and also to those who took the time to PM me; keep 'em coming!

Mike

wprebeck 01-25-2004 17:42

Former cadet here, as well. Made it to C/1st LT, been to 3 encampments (Grissom, Chanute, and Wright-Patt). Did some SAR stuff, and got a "find" ribbon before I left. Went out on 3 (I think) total missions, but only got the 1 find. It was in northern KY, and the guy was dead when we got there.

I was never involved in the "senior member" program, but more than one cadet made his/her way to a military academy. A friend of mine was accepted to all 3, and chose Westpoint. I know the KY wing of CAP used to be very active with the drug interdiction flying...they would go out and look for marijuana fields, and then report those to the National Guard, or local LE. They were VERY active down near the London, KY area. Give your local squadron a call, and see what they can offer you. SAR is a big thing with most squadrons, and you should be able to get in some hours doing something like that.

BTW, for all those former cadets on here: I was in Centenary Composite sqaudron (15058, I think), and made it to the nation drill comp in both '88 and '89. We sucked in '88, coming in last place, but scored 3rd the next year.:cool:

Mr.Niceguy 01-30-2004 22:49

1997-2000 Former cadet here(C/SeniorAirman), 3 Actual SAR missions, awarded 1 "find" and the unit citation, attended Basic Encapment and OJT(USAF Security Forces). Our squadron had a small number of cadets on average, approx 20. Hell of a fun time, and a meaningfull leadership experince for me.


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