Please help - Civil Air Patrol!!!

Louie1975

Well-Known Member
No my ELT is not going off:

Hi everyone:
Because money has been a little tight lately, and WX has been bad here in the Northeast, and I'm still paying off my SES rating, I haven't been flying as much. I have been trying to come up with some ideas for cheaper flight time. One of them has been to join CAP.
I actually have attended a couple of meetings. I then emailed my old private instructor to ask him his opinion, and I got a very negative response. He told me that they don't have a good reputation in aviation. Because he can be a little opinionated, I decided to ask further.
I believe we have some current/ex CAP people here. Hope they can chime in. I also was thinking about this being a decent source of networking opportunities, since none of my friends fly. Thanks!
 

John_Jones

New Member
It depends who you're officer (person that runs it) is. Some prgrams are better than others, just depends. I was a cadet from 15 to 17 and I enjoyed it. I was in a large Charlottoe Aquadronbut learned a lot. I found the biggest problem was the uniforms. They were pretty bad but it was fun and quite useful.
 

Athena

New Member
I am looking to join a squadron in the Columbus area. There are i believe four near me that i can join. Which one you join can depend on your age and also if they are a custodial unit. (ie they have a plane they are responsible for) One group meets at a park (not sure what to think about it) two others meet at a former air force base (LCK). The one i went to a meeting for met at Fairfield County Airport. I am 25 and i was the youngest one in attendance. Of the members in attendance one was a part time CFI, one was an IT pro and a couple appeared to be retirees. They answered all my questions invited me to their next meeting and let me see their 172.
 

EatSleepFly

Well-Known Member
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and I got a very negative response.

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And you would get one from me as well. But I'm pretty sure its probably the same thing he said, so I will spare everyone the rant.
 

CK

Well-Known Member
I think CAP is great. All their aircraft are well maintaned and are pretty new. I'm sure you know all the requirements so you know you don't need to do much to fly it. I don't what they charge in your area, but it's only $25 hour/wet for a C172,C182,C182RG here.
 

Jason

Well-Known Member
I personally enjoyed my years in CAP - I held several leadership positions in a fairly busy flying squadron. I logged alot of "free time" but I also put in ALOT of time doing things other than flying.It can be a full time job - towards the end I was putting in an average of probably around 25 hours week flying missions, doing admin stuff, training, etc etc etc.

CAP can be alot of things and what you put in to it determines how much you get from it BUT keep in mind that it is a volunteer organization that has a very specific mission(s) to perform and one of those missions isn't to get you free flying time. There is an opportunity to do some flying but if the only reason you're joining is to use it as a 'flying club' to get super cheap flight time you'd be better off not joining - you'll probably not want to deal with the hassle because quite honestly there is ALOT of BS to deal with in the flying program.

Jason
 

montana

New Member
I've been considering joining here in the DFW area (lots of units to look at). There a few disadvantages. . .

1) Everything that I have been told indicates that there will be a about 1 hour of paperwork to fill out for every hour of flying that actually takes place.

2) Getting to qualify as an actual mission pilot is EXTREMELY difficult. Don't believe CitationKid when he says, " I'm sure you know all the requirements so you know you don't need to do much to fly it." Don't be too hard on him though, he is afterall, just a kid. At on squadron that I am looking into, a retired Southwest Airlines captain / Navy pilot is having to struggle just to get to a place where he can actually fly the plane. He's been going at it for 6 months! Tons of paperwork and lots of checkrides. Training opportunities seem to be few and far between on the calendar.

3) There are some very strange personalities at CAP. Not that any JC guy (or gal)
is not used to that, just take a look around at the peronalities in the forums. But you definately need to have patience going to the meetings every single week and listening to some old guy that's been saving up all week just to gripe about a front wheel having three less pounds of air pressure that it actually should.

4) The units are all different in personality and quality. It is difficult to get a good read on the particular unit the first time you go to the meeting. Some units are really gung ho about the mission, others could really care less. Just don't plan on making any kind of decision the first time you show up. LOOK AROUND. Some units are so bad that they are about to go on probation. BEWARE.


The advantages are good though. . .if you find the right unit.
1) Great training for flight
2) Opportunities to get involved in your community
3) Cool mission opportunities like Homeland Security, Law Enforcement, Search and Rescue.
4) Networking with other professionals in the aviation community
5) Relatively inexpensive flying

OK, that's enough from me.
 

CK

Well-Known Member
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2) Getting to qualify as an actual mission pilot is EXTREMELY difficult. Don't believe CitationKid when he says, " I'm sure you know all the requirements so you know you don't need to do much to fly it."

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Maybe it's just a DE wing thing. All my dad had to do to rent the aircraft is a checkride (1 hour long) and an open book test. You don't need to be a mission pilot to rent the aircraft which is what I meant. I didn't realize he was talking about being a mission pilot. My fault................
 

Minuteman

“Dongola”
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3) There are some very strange personalities at CAP... But you definately need to have patience going to the meetings every single week and listening to some old guy that's been saving up all week just to gripe about a front wheel having three less pounds of air pressure that it actually should.

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How come they all look like Dominic Santini?

 

giants_fan

New Member
CAP requires all pilots to complete Form 5. It includes an extensive oral and a checkride which can last 2 hrs. It is almost exactly like a 135 ATP ride with a few CAP extras thrown in. You can count a FAA checkride towards the non-specific CAP maneuvers in fact.

To be a mission pilot you must complete Emergency Services 1 and 2, and probably some other courses as well. In addition, there is Form 91 which is the Mission Pilot Check Ride and Oral. This includes mission specific maneuvers, such as ELT search (using DF and Wing Null method), Grid Search, etc.

Agreed on the personalities. There are definitely some weirdos in CAP. The pilots seem to be ok, it's mostly the ground pounders who are in it so they can wear a pretty uniform.

Paperwork is extensive. Count on piles of it before and after every flight. The good thing is that it prepares you for 135 and 121 because it is almost identical to the release-dispatch procedures of airlines and on demand charter.

CAP is worth it as long as you are there for the right reasons. I believe Mr. Tenney once posted that CAP members can get resentful when they think you are just there to build time. I've seen this in a few places, but some places it is accepted as well.
 

Jason

Well-Known Member
Almost identical to 135/121?? Gimme' a freakin' break. I guess it varies by wing but in IN the paperwork and hassle I dealt with to launch the airplane far surpassed anything I've ever had to do in the 135/121 world!! Make it a 'CN' flight and the process(both pre- and postflight) becomes absolutley mind boggling.

A form 5 ride lasting 2 hours? ehhhh - guess that goes back to the attitude thing. If you get a prick for a check pilot then maybe. When I was giving 5a rides mine never lasted more than an hour or so. Back then (if it has changed) 60-1 said that the manuevers had to completed to the proficiency level of certificate held - ie commercial pilot had to fly to commercial standards - so I never busted anybody's balls, as long as they flew safely and didn't do anything stupid they passed. Mission checks are a whole 'nother animal.

Back to the personalities - some people in CAP are military 'wannabes' and/or 'has beens' and think that launching a Cessna 172 on a SAR mission is the same thing as launching a flight of 8 against a nuclear reactor deep in enemy territory and invent administrative processes that make it almost unbearable - those are the people that give the organization a bad name. Fortunatley there aren't that many around but all it takes is one to turn an otherwise good squadron into a pain in the butt. My motto as DO was always "Let's follow the rules but it's a Cessna - just get in the airplane and fly and do the job".

CAP has a tendency to 'reactively regulate'. If they have one minor incident the Air Force dictates a new regulation and as a result CAP has some wacky regulations that don't really do anything other than take up space in a manual. If they're not careful CAP will be regulated to death - literally.

The other big problem with CAP is the Air Force. I know how and why CAP came to be but in it's current state I believe it would be a much more successful organization if it got away from the AF - maybe under another government agency or even become it's 'own entity' - which of course would carry it's own ramifications. The AF simply isn't a good vehicle for 'oversight' of CAP. The problem is that the vast majority of AF officers assigned to oversee and evaluate CAP have no clue how CAP needs to operate to accomplish the assigned missions and aren't experienced enough with light aircaft to understand that you can't just replace "F-16" with "CE 172" in an AF reg and expect things to work. As an example - the last wing eval that I took part in as a staff member one of the AF evaluators threw an absolute fit and threatend to ground all of our aircraft(like he even had that authority - major power trip) because none of our airplanes had the "Max Zero Fuel Weight" placarded anywhere. Has anyone EVER seen a MZFW published for a light airplane???? He was also upset that we only had 3 wing walkers per taxiing aircraft!?!?!?! This individual was unusual - most of the AF folks I came in contact with were great to work with - they simply don't know about little airplanes and most of them would admit to that.

Whew - that turned out longer than I expected.

Jason

PS - Dom was a much better helicopter pilot than that other p***y that got to fly all the time.
 

giants_fan

New Member
Jason you're right! The Form 5 for non-active pilots was 1 hr oral and 1-2 hr flight. I was directed to give leniency to pro pilots as well.

It was Florida Wing, and I think you mean by CN, Customs Interidction? Those were huge paper work boondoggles. I think the Air Force reimburses CAP "by the pound" of paperwork.

I have not been active for a few years, so I don't know any new requirements. I was a Check Pilot but that was quite a while ago. All my info is surely out of date.
 

Jason

Well-Known Member
Yeah - we called it Counter Narcotics up north. DEA was our biggest 'benefactor' for a lot of years so 90% of the flying was for them. I went thru reams upon reams of paper for those missions!

Jason
 

DE727UPS

Well-Known Member
"All my dad had to do to rent the aircraft is a checkride (1 hour long) and an open book test. You don't need to be a mission pilot to rent the aircraft which is what I meant."

Citationkid....let me get this straight. You and your dad can go out and "rent" a CAP airplane to fly around in and not be on a CAP mission? Do you have to wear a uniform when you do this?

My understanding was you didn't set foot in a CAP airplane unless you wore a uniform and you didn't fly it unless you were on a CAP "mission" of some sort.

Part of what turned me off about CAP was after reading all the rules and stuff (there are a lot). I see the wing commander flying the 182 around in street clothes...that kind of favoritism and attitude quickly turned me off.

I had to laugh at what was said about "some old guys saving up all week to gripe about nothing" at the senior meetings. I sat through one of those (in the winter in an unheated hangar) and never went back.
 

CK

Well-Known Member
[ QUOTE ]


Citationkid....let me get this straight. You and your dad can go out and "rent" a CAP airplane to fly around in and not be on a CAP mission? Do you have to wear a uniform when you do this?

My understanding was you didn't set foot in a CAP airplane unless you wore a uniform and you didn't fly it unless you were on a CAP "mission" of some sort.

Part of what turned me off about CAP was after reading all the rules and stuff (there are a lot). I see the wing commander flying the 182 around in street clothes...that kind of favoritism and attitude quickly turned me off.



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Over at MTN cadets can rent the aircraft and actually get instruction from one of the Instrucors in the squadron. I've never done an Orientaion flight in street clothes, but I haven't seen any rules about being in uniform when you rent it so I'm not.
 

DE727UPS

Well-Known Member
Nice. Does your squadron have a private club where you can do instruction and rent or do they just have official CAP planes. In other words....can you rent any of the planes at your squadron or only certain ones.
 

CK

Well-Known Member
[ QUOTE ]
Nice. Does your squadron have a private club where you can do instruction and rent or do they just have official CAP planes. In other words....can you rent any of the planes at your squadron or only certain ones.

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I pretty sure you can just rent any aircraft you want that you are checked out on and insured on.
 

Jason

Well-Known Member
DE - you're correct. Citation Kid is sorta' correct. EVERY time a corporate(USAF/CAP) owned aircraft leaves the ground it is on an official "mission". That mission may carry an A1 code which is an actual operational mission. (forgive me if I get the codes wrong - it's been a few years) It may be a B12 code which is a maint. flight. It may be a C1 which is a 'proficiency flight'. When you "rent" the aircraft you're typically on a proficiency flight mission - the intent is you fly the airplane to practice and stay proficient and you can do that as much as you want for whatever the current rate is - and it's usually VERY cheap. It's NOT meant to be a personal flying club and you're not allowed to "rent" the airplane for personal reasons - ie to go see your friend 400 miles away for the weekend. Unfortunatley that rule gets abused alot - all you have to say is "I feel I need a cross country proficiency flight to stay on top of current navigational techniques" and that makes it legal and you've got yourself some cheap transportation. That airplane isn't there to be a general rental aircraft but it gets used that way alot. There are provisions in CAPR 60-1 that allows corporate owned aircraft to be used by cadets for primary training and by senior members for advanced training(instrument, etc).

As far as uniforms - according to CAPR 60-1 and 39-1 (flying regs and uniform regs respectively) you MUST be in uniform to fly aboard a corporate owned aircraft OR on a private owned aircraft while on a CAP reimbursed mission. There's no latitude allowed - especially in corporate owned aircraft - you MUST be in uniform - no question. Now if your wing commander(I think is what you said) was flying a corporate airplane in street clothes he was in violation of the regulations. Now - what's your definition of 'street clothes'??? Over the past few years CAP has gotten away from the Air Force style uniforms (for the senior members) and they now have a handful of different official uniforms - one of which is simply a pair of grey slacks and a white CAP knit type shirt - I wore that uniform alot while teaching and giving checkrides.

Jason
 
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