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The Civil Air Patrol...The Cadet Program  
User currently offlineAndrewAir From United States of America, joined Jul 2002, 361 posts, RR: 0
Posted (12 years 8 months 15 hours ago) and read 4556 times:


I was looking on the internet and I found a program that the The Civil Air Patrol conducts. The program is called The Cadet Program and is made for children 12 to 18 years old. I received a packet in the mail and was supposed to explain what the program was about but all it said was how great the opportunities are by joining the program.

Does the Cadet Program offers flight lessons. As a 15 year old kid I can't afford flight school and is desperate to do so.

Can anyone pun into simple words what the Cadet Program is and what they offer.

I saw a picture here on A.net that said in the caption "N381BA Used by the Civil Air Patrol to train cadets.". So do they give you flight training and if they do what is the catch.

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Photo © Tony Zeljeznjak


[Edited 2003-04-06 06:20:55]

20 replies: All unread, jump to last
User currently offlineJcxp15 From United States of America, joined Jun 2001, 997 posts, RR: 4
Reply 1, posted (12 years 8 months 15 hours ago) and read 4513 times:

From what I've heard CAP is really nothing more than a "club". You rarely fly, therefore you really don't work towards a PPL or anything. CAP is geared more to introduce the kids to the Air Force, which is why they'll occasionally take them out on flights and all.. Anyway, if you have nothing better to do, then I would say join, but I wouldn't expect to get much flying done...

User currently offlineN766UA From United States of America, joined Jul 1999, 8649 posts, RR: 23
Reply 2, posted (12 years 8 months 15 hours ago) and read 4500 times:

CAP is the auxiliary of the US Air Force. We do fly quite a bit, but not as lessons or for fun. Flying is done mainly in support or Search and Rescue operations. CAP is by no means a club, though. We are now under the Dept. of Homeland security with our main job being Search and Rescue etc. In fact, the first airplane over the WTC site on Sept 11th was a CAP plane. Cadets join mainly because they are interested in a military career and CAP provides many benefits like advanced grade upon completion of Basic or scholarships to ROTC units etc. Don't go if you just want flying lessons, CAP isn't about that. Talk to me if you want more info, I'm a cadet officer in the program.


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User currently offlineN766UA From United States of America, joined Jul 1999, 8649 posts, RR: 23
Reply 3, posted (12 years 8 months 15 hours ago) and read 4493 times:

HOWEVER- if you are in the cadet program long enough and complete your basic encampent, you can pay for and attend a powered or glider flight school. This will earn you your solo in either a Cessna or an L-13 glider like the one you have pictured. A friend of mine is going to the Powered Flight Academy this summer, he's a Master Sergeant.

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User currently offlineFlyf15 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 4, posted (12 years 8 months 14 hours ago) and read 4485 times:

I was in CAP for a little while when I was your age. For me, it was a very bad experience. I joined it because I liked airplanes, not because I was into the military. I can only speak for my unit, but it was pretty much a wannabe paramilitary organization controlled by ego-tripped 17 yearolds. Being yelled at for the creases in my uniform and ordered to march around all while pretending to be in the military wasn't my idea of fun. I believe during my entire time in there, the opportunity arose for me to fly once, and it conflicted with other things in my schedule so I was not able to.

Like I said, I'm only speaking for my Unit, it could be a whole different and great experience somewhere else. But, from what I've seen, other units were more of the same.

User currently offlineN766UA From United States of America, joined Jul 1999, 8649 posts, RR: 23
Reply 5, posted (12 years 8 months 14 hours ago) and read 4483 times:

flyF15- I just transfered squadrons because it was like that- run by a nazi 45 year old who wanted to yell at kids. Half of CAP is like that, unfortunatly. That's why it has a bad reputation.

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User currently offlineL-188 From United States of America, joined Jul 1999, 30209 posts, RR: 57
Reply 6, posted (12 years 8 months 14 hours ago) and read 4479 times:

Get the right unit it can be fun, get a bad one and it is lousy.

My brother was in it. Halfway through they changed commanders and it went from the former to the latter really quickly.

Still he enjoyed it.

The CAP is one of those groups that it is a good thing to support because if you ever do go down, they are going to be one the ones that are out there looking for you.

User currently offlineShaun3000 From United States of America, joined Mar 2002, 445 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (12 years 8 months 14 hours ago) and read 4473 times:

From what I hear, the CAP Cadet program isn't all that great. Try the EAA Young Eagles.

Now the REAL CAP, that's a good organization, especially if you're a pilot who wants to build some hours.

User currently offlineFlyboy36y From United States of America, joined Mar 2000, 3039 posts, RR: 6
Reply 8, posted (12 years 8 months 14 hours ago) and read 4467 times:

I was a CAP cadet for 4 years and reached one of their highest awards. The cadet program WAS great, but new rules and Adult members fucked it up. Its full of a bunch of 55 year old with nothing better to do bossing around 12-21 year olds. The oldies are on a super power trip. The cadets are great, but the oldies ruined it.

email me for more info.

Jacob Uriel
Former Cadet 2d Lt, CAP
Former Cadet Commander, former Wing Encampment Public Affairs Officer in Charge, Mitchell Award Recipient, Presidential Disaster Relief Award, Solo Flight Wings, Red Service Ribbon, Wright Brothers Award, Doolittle ribbon, curry ribbon, Advisory Council Staff, Executive Officer, Ground Team Member, Doolittle Ribbon, Armstromg RRibbon, Goddard Ribbon, Voulenteer Service Award, 3 Encampments, more....

A lot of cadets have my credentials
most dont



email me

User currently offlineMikeclod From United States of America, joined Dec 2001, 272 posts, RR: 0
Reply 9, posted (12 years 8 months 10 hours ago) and read 4446 times:

CAP is a great experience if you find a good squadron. I was a member of CAP for about 6 years. If you find a good/responsible squadron, you will learn quite a bit about aviation and life in general. If you rise to a certain rank (mitchell) you can join any branch of the armed forces with an E-2 pay grade. Also, you automatically qualify for five flights with a qualified flight instructor. In CAP I've flown the "boom" on a KC-135, flown in a UH-60, run a flight line, worked several SAR-X'S, flown several Cessnas (172s and 182s), had the opportunity to work at Oshkosh, met the Thunderbirds, worked several airshows (Once I was knocked over by the jet blast of a F-111), and most importantly, learned about my limits and how far I could really go. CAP is a great intro to the aviation and military world. Even if you aren't interested in the military, it will teach you things about yourself that you can't find elsewhere. Really, it's like anything, it's what you make of it.

User currently offlineJhooper From United States of America, joined Dec 2001, 6206 posts, RR: 11
Reply 10, posted (12 years 8 months ago) and read 4413 times:

How about us older (23 yr old) folks who would join CAP and bypass the cadet program? Do we progress through ranks, etc?

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User currently offlineSpeedport From United States of America, joined Sep 2001, 284 posts, RR: 0
Reply 11, posted (12 years 7 months 4 weeks 1 day 22 hours ago) and read 4397 times:

It's sad to hear so many negative opinions of the CAP.

I spend several years as a cadet many moons ago. It was a great time. We had a good adult command staff at our squadron, I guess that makes all the difference.

Mikeclod, sounds like you great fun. When I was in, we didn't have access to all the things you did. But I agree the CAP gives you great exposure to many different aspects of aviation. I did things other teenager could only dream about.

It is what you make of it. You have to be serious (shoes shined, uniform clean and pressed), you have to respect military decorum (I guess discipline was easier to accept back then compare to today's youth), and having the support of your parents is critical (to take you to events, purchase supplies, even if only to have you mom iron your uniform Big grin).

If you are willing to give it time, and pursue higher levels of rank, the CAP can be a great experience. My advice is to identify all of the squadrons in your area and go to each of them to check them out. Choose a time during a regular gathering to talk to some of the cadets. Ask them how they like their squadron. Choose the best one and have a go. No doubt you will have the time of your life.

Most importantly, be sure to get the support of your parents. It comes in real handy.

User currently offlineElwood64151 From United States of America, joined Feb 2002, 2477 posts, RR: 5
Reply 12, posted (12 years 7 months 4 weeks 1 day 19 hours ago) and read 4370 times:


You're absolutely wrong: If the FAA hadn't yanked my class III physical (because of my bad eyes), I'd have gotten through ground school and most of my required flight hours via CAP.


I'm 22 and a current member. I was in the cadet program. If you'd like to support, there are actually more generalized opportunities for you because you're over 18. There won't be the opportunities for flight, but there are plenty of opportunities learning emergency relief and rescue services, becoming a leader, and learning about the military and aviation.

However, if you find the right people, they might help you learn some things and introduce you to other people who could help you in your quest to become a pilot.

If you're already a pilot: WE NEED YOU!!!

Cadets are supposed to get Orientation Flight opportunities once a month. That generally doesn't happen because we don't have enough pilots. It's better the further west you go (until you reach the Rockies), but in the East, well, you're not going to find very much opportunity at all, so the more pilots the better.

Also, CAP will reimburse pilots for using fuel and even some maintenance for official CAP functions, including O-Flights.

CAP is not a bad program. There are some leaders who should be replaced, there are some cadets and senior members who get on a power trip, and there are also great experiences to be had.

CAP recommends spending three weeks with a unit to see what that unit is like before joining. If it's not for you, see if there is another one nearby. If there are no other units, contact CAP and let them know why you had objections to that unit.

Finally, remember that it is a paramilitary organization, and that it does spend some time indoctrinating the cadets to pro-US, pro-military ideals. It is the official auxillary to the US AirForce, and as such, spends a lot of time teaching the AirForce way (though my unit in Parkville, MO, was a Marine Corps-loving group). If you do not like this, then CAP may not be for you. The Boy Scouts might be a better option. But at CAP, we like to say that we "eat Boy Scouts for Breakfast."  Smile

Oh, and it's not free. Cadets have yearly dues of (I think) $39, and Senior Members have dues of $55. Each unit may or may not have weekly or monthly dues, which could be as much as $2-$5 per week. CAP's yearly budget was only just increased to $54 million a year, so there isn't much money to go around to the 60-70 thousand members and over 1500 units.

Still, it is one of the largest Air Forces in the world, with over 500 corporate owned and 3000 member owned aircraft.

Those who fail to learn history are doomed to repeat it in summer school.
User currently offlineFlyboy36y From United States of America, joined Mar 2000, 3039 posts, RR: 6
Reply 13, posted (12 years 7 months 4 weeks 1 day 6 hours ago) and read 4306 times:

Again, I warn people to NOT join as cadets. CAP is no longer what it was when I was in. I know MANY cadets feel the same way. I still have my connections in the Cadet program, and it is falling appart because adult members care less and less about allowing cadets freedom to be in command. I've seen the new regulations. Cadets have MORE accountability, more responsibility, but LESS rights. Cadets cannot even give phisical tsts anymore. The rules have taken leadersip from cadets hands and replaced it with leadershp theory. CAP needs to return to a time when ADult members and cadets worked side by side. Today, cadets may as well be slaves. Their ranks are meaningless.

User currently offlineLOT767-300ER From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 14, posted (12 years 7 months 4 weeks 1 day 4 hours ago) and read 4293 times:

In a nutshell ive seen the CAP Cadets at Schaumburg Airport. They know jack about aviation, jack about what type of damned Cessna is sitting on the ramp etc. One of the CAP Cadets i saw at Schaumburg airport was a freshman in my HS, I had to remind him who the hell he was with my fist after he tried to stop me from taking pix at the airport.

User currently offlineDeltaASA16 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 15, posted (12 years 7 months 4 weeks 23 hours ago) and read 4266 times:


I have been in the CAP Cadet program for about 5 years now. It has been a mixed experience for me. The first few years, nothin happened. We just sat around and told stories about planes and paintball. After those few years, we took a trip to Washington DC (Smithsonian) and did a power flight orientation ride and a Glider Orientation ride in Virginia. I went to the summer encampment in Ft. Bragg and that was nothing but 16 and 17 year olds who were power hungry and just wanted to boost their Ego around. In the last year at LYH Composite Squadron, I have been the Cadet Commander and things have taken a different turn. We are nor performing community service, becoming more involved at the Group level (under Wing) and hope to have an extremely active cadet program in the future with orientation rides and group activities several weekends in the upcoming months.

To be frank, Your CAP experience will depend on the Squadron you join. I know of some squadrons where they FLY EVERY WEEKEND...FREE! Big grin No, it doesn't go into your log book, but its FREE FLYIN! Make a few visits to your local squadron and see what its like. If there are more than 3 senior members and 20 cadets, there is potential for a lot to happen.  Big thumbs up However, if it is 1 senior member and 8-10 cadets...a lot won't happen  Sad

I did log 12 hours of glider time attending two summer flight academies in Alabama and Colorado, both were extremely rewarding experiences and I would always be happy to go to another. The cost is around 800 dollars per encampment but I guarantee that you will enjoy your self!  Big thumbs up (You must attend Basic Encampment before going to a Flight academy)

Check out your local squadron and give it a try...it doesn't hurt!

Good luck...


User currently offlineElwood64151 From United States of America, joined Feb 2002, 2477 posts, RR: 5
Reply 16, posted (12 years 7 months 4 weeks 19 hours ago) and read 4260 times:

I want to echo my previous comment:


Your first impression will probably be right. But CAP recommends three meetings before making a decision.

My first Squadron (307th, Lebanon, PA) was an outstanding unit with a well-motivated cadre and cadet leadership. We flew frequently, we bivouaqed (camped) frequently, and we attended numerous activities (my first visit to the US AirForce Museum in Dayton was by taking a ANG flight from Philadelphia to Wright-Patterson AFB on a cooperative CAP-USAF flight).

After moving to Kansas City, my first unit was not what the 307th was. We didn't fly, or much of anything. One of the units in the region was so much a joke that I won't even mention their name. But there were other units that did get to fly. Charles R. Long Composite Squadron, which meets at the downtown airport, has its own aircraft. This is not a CAP aircraft. It is not a member-owned aircraft. It's a Squadron-owned aircraft. It's a Cessna 172.

My final squadron, Platte Valley Composite Squadron, was an emerging unit with some people who were, frankly, on a power trip, but mostly people who wanted to do what CAP was meant to do. The unit had begun O-Flights. We sent two cadets to leadership and flight academies last summer. There were several cadets who just earned their 101 card, which is the required certification for working Emergency Services missions.

Also, during the Flood of '93, CAP was the organization in charge of all airspace within three miles latterally, and three thousand feet vertically, of all flooded rivers and their flooded tributaries. Any unscheduled flight needed CAP's confirmation. When President Clinton wanted to land at Kansas City International Airport, the Air Force issued a permission request to a First Lieutenant on Missouri Wing Staff, who was, in fact, a civilian. That's a lot of responsibility for a bunch of volunteers. And we proved we were up to the challenge. Now, CAP is part of the Dept. of Homeland Security. I'm sure it will be up to that challenge, as well.

Well, I only intended to say a few words. Guess I'm too passionate about it.

Those who fail to learn history are doomed to repeat it in summer school.
User currently offlineFlyf15 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 17, posted (12 years 7 months 4 weeks 19 hours ago) and read 4244 times:

Hey guys,

Could I get some information on the senior member program. From what I'm reading, its nothing like the cadet program.

I know CAP does lots of flying, and therefore needs pilots, how does one get involved in this? I'm already a pilot and will soon be a flight instructor. Is there a way I can sign up to be a pilot with CAP? I'd also assume all offical flying in CAP would be at no cost to me. I'd love to take kids on O-flights and do rescue flights and all, but how?

User currently offlineJhooper From United States of America, joined Dec 2001, 6206 posts, RR: 11
Reply 18, posted (12 years 7 months 2 weeks 6 days 12 hours ago) and read 4176 times:

I want to join the CAP because I'm interested in search and rescue missions, etc. I found a local squadron who seems to be a good group of people, and they flew many missions in support of the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster. I'm a CFI and I believe I can contribute much to the organization. I paid my dues and submitted my fingerprints for the FBI background check. I indicated on my application that I'm willing to provide cadets with orientation flights. I feel as though I should have been a member as a cadet when I was in high school, but I guess I never had mentors who lead me down that path. Oh well, I'm now 23 and am too old for the cadet program. I participated in Texas A&M Corps of Cadets and I've had enough marching for one lifetime. I hope to recieve my membership card within the next few weeks. Any advice for someone like me who is joining as a "senior" member? I hope I can get kids interested in aviation and ensure their CAP experience doesn't detract from their interest in aviation.

Last year 1,944 New Yorkers saw something and said something.
User currently offlineFlyboy36y From United States of America, joined Mar 2000, 3039 posts, RR: 6
Reply 19, posted (12 years 7 months 2 weeks 6 days 6 hours ago) and read 4164 times:

ADvice to anyone wh wants to be a senior:

Let them be leaders, you be a guide. Gently guide them, don't shove. The primary goal for them is leadership training. Aviation is a second. Respect cadet leaders and you'll do fine. STAY OUT OFF CAP POLITICS

User currently offlineJhooper From United States of America, joined Dec 2001, 6206 posts, RR: 11
Reply 20, posted (12 years 7 months 2 weeks 6 days 2 hours ago) and read 4153 times:

Thanks for the advice. All I want to do is fly; I have no intention to get involved with politics. I couldn't care less about rank, etc.

Last year 1,944 New Yorkers saw something and said something.
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