- I’m a private pilot. How can I become a CAP pilot?
There are several steps to becoming a CAP pilot:
- You must be current and have a current medical and provide copies to the unit.
- Take a written questionnaire covering CAP flying regulations and information specific to the aircraft you plan to fly. You are then scheduled for a checkout, called a “Form 5,” performed by a CAP check pilot in each type of CAP aircraft you are qualified to fly.
- This flight check must be repeated annually after your initial checkout to continue to fly CAP planes.
- Are there minimum hours required to be a CAP pilot?
To become a basic CAP pilot, able to fly CAP aircraft, you must be a current, certified private pilot and pass the checkout. That’s it.
The requirements to fly CAP’s USAF-assigned missions such as SAR or cadet orientation are somewhat higher. You must have at least 200 hours as PIC and 50 hours of cross-country. There are also mission-specific training & checkout requirements that must be met.
- I have advanced ratings. Are those of any use in CAP?
Advanced ratings such as instrument, commercial or CFI expand your capabilities when it comes to the types of missions that you can fly for CAP. For example, only commercial pilots may fly some mission types due to the reimbursement exemptions from the FAA. Once checked out, and after receiving CAP-specific training, a CFI or CFII can become an instructor pilot for other CAP pilots and eventually a check pilot.
- What kinds of planes does CAP fly?
The majority of CAP’s fleet is made up of C-172 Skyhawks and C-182T Skylanes, with a mix of “steam gauge” and the newer G-1000 NAV III “glass” cockpit aircraft. Several other aircraft are available as needed for specific missions.
- Can I fly a CAP airplane for other than just CAP- or USAF-assigned missions?
Yes. CAP pilots may fly CAP aircraft for the purposes of proficiency training, transport of CAP members to activities, attending meetings, etc. Not every bit of CAP flying is mission flying. Flying to maintain pilot proficiency, for practical purposes, and to increase overall experience level & Pilot-In-Command time is encouraged!
- Can my family fly on a CAP plane with me?
No. Except for certain types of CAP missions, only Civil Air Patrol members may fly in CAP airplanes. If your family members are also CAP members, they may fly in the aircraft.