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.
Last edited by mbsigman; 01-23-2004 at 23:38..