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Civil AIr Patrol

We support America’s communities with emergency response, diverse aviation and ground services, youth development, and promotion of air, space, and cyber power.

Entrance Requirements

01. Age Requirements

All new cadets must be between the age of 12 and 18. Senior members must be 18 or older, but there is no upper age limit.

02. Physical Requirements

We encourage new cadets and senior members of all levels of fitness and physical ability. As long as you have a positive attitude and a commitment to bettering yourself and your community, we’d love to have you join us.

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Cadet Program

Frequently Asked Questions

To fulfill its goal of developing young people into responsible citizens and aerospace leaders, the Cadet Program is developed around five program elements: Leadership, Character Development, Aerospace Education, Physical Fitness, and Activities. As cadets participate in these five elements, they advance through a series of achievements, earning honors and increased responsibilities along the way.

Youth members must be at least 12 years old and not yet 19 years old.  Cadets joining a unit in their school may join under the age of 12 as long as they are in the sixth grade.

Aliens admitted for permanent residence are eligible.  Other non-citizens who are legally admitted to the country must request a waiver of the citizenship requirement through the unit they are joining.

Civil Air Patrol does not preclude membership due to medical conditions or disabilities and is committed to doing everything we reasonably can to help cadets succeed.   Keep in mind that participation in certain activities may be limited for his or her safety depending on the cadet’s condition, illness or disability.   Read more about Cadets with Special Needs.

To get the most out of the cadet program you should participate regularly.  Like any other activity, you’ll get out of CAP only what you put into it. Our cadets meet every Monday evening from 7PM to 9PM at our Gnoss Field Headquarters and one Saturday each month during the morning. We also offer special activities on the weekends and during the summer.

CAP takes its responsibility to safeguard youth very seriously. The adult volunteers who interact with cadets (known as CAP senior members or cadet sponsors) have been fingerprinted and screened by the FBI. All adult members also take a Cadet Protection course as part of their initial training.  Visit this page for more information on cadet protection.

New cadets need one uniform to get started.  Eventually, the cadet will want to have both the camouflage utility uniform (ABU) and the Air Force-style blue uniform.

Upon completing Achievement 1 and becoming a Cadet Airman, cadets qualify for the Curry Blues Voucher, which covers some of the costs of the Air Force-style blue uniform. Therefore, we suggest you obtain ABUs first, and then use the Curry Blues Voucher to obtain your “blues.”

School should always come first for the cadets. CAP expects cadets to maintain “satisfactory performance” at school, as defined by the cadet’s parents. Because CAP emphasizes self-discipline, it’s not uncommon for parents to see their son’s or daughter’s grades increase as a result of their participation in the Cadet Program.

No, you do not have to join the military, but many choose to do so. Cadets who earn the Billy Mitchell Award may enter the Air Force at an advanced grade (E-3) if they choose to enlist. The service academies and ROTC also look favorably on CAP experience. Approximately 10% of the USAF Academy cadet corps got their start in CAP.  But no matter what career you choose, the skills you learn in CAP will be invaluable.

CAP doesn’t provide primary flight training, but cadets have the opportunity to fly in a CAP plane in an Orientation Flight.

Yes, there are academic and flight scholarships available.

Cadets advance at their own pace through self-study and group study. To progress, cadets must (1) participate actively; (2) pass a written leadership test; (3) pass a written aerospace test; (4) pass a physical fitness test; (5) participate in character development forums; and most of all (6) demonstrate they have the maturity to accept increased responsibility. (In some stages of the Cadet Program, these requirements differ slightly.)

Absolutely!  Some opportunities to share in the CAP experience are:

Cadet Sponsor Member —  Just like any other youth organization, CAP relies on a cadet’s family to support the program. Cadet parents, grandparents or legal guardians are eligible to join as a Cadet Sponsor. This membership requires the same FBI background screening process and cadet protection training as the active adult membership. As a parent sponsor, you’ll be able to help chaperone the kids, ride or drive in the CAP vehicles, and otherwise help the other adult volunteer members. You will not be required to wear the Air Force-style uniform.

Senior Member — If you are more interested in taking a leadership role in the Cadet Program, or want to participate in CAP’s aerospace education and emergency services missions, you should join as a senior member.  Talk with your child’s squadron commander about joining as a senior member.  You will need to submit and complete a membership application, fingerprint card and complete an orientation course. Annual membership dues vary by state.

Adult Program

Frequently Asked Questions

Though Civil Air Patrol is known for its flying missions, CAP adults members, known as Senior Members, do so much more than just fly. In emergency services and operations CAP not only need aircrew members, but also ground team members to aid in the rescue of survivors or to assess damage after a disaster. CAP needs communications personnel to relay critical messages when there is limited or no telephone support. Administrative staff, financial managers, logistics and supply personnel are needed to document missions and get personnel critical supplies and equipment in the field that they need to conduct missions. CAP also needs adults to support the cadet program.

Adult members must be at least 18 years old.  There is no maximum age limit to join or remain as an adult member.

Regular and Reserve officers of the Armed Forces of the United States, active, retired, or honorably discharged, may be advanced to a CAP grade equivalent to their grade in the Armed Forces (but not to exceed lieutenant colonel), in recognition of their military knowledge and experience.

Regular, Reserve, and National Guard Senior Noncommissioned Officers of the Armed Forces or Coast Guard of the United States, active, or retired, in the grade of E-7 through E-9 may receive an advanced CAP grade in recognition of their military knowledge and experience.

Such promotions are neither automatic nor mandatory, but are at the discretion of the promoting authority.

Senior members meet every second and fourth Monday each month at our Gnoss Field Headquarters from 7:30PM to 9PM. They also may attend weekend and summer activities.

All active adult members must be screened and registered by National Headquarters.  The screening process requires that the individual complete an FD 258 fingerprint card used by NHQ to request an FBI criminal records check to determine membership eligibility.   Felony convictions or patterns of arrests and/or convictions including, but not limited to sex offenses, child abuse, DUIs, dishonesty and violence may be the basis for rejection of membership.   Reports received from the FBI are maintained in strict confidence by NHQ and not released.

There are no waivers for the fingerprint card requirement, regardless of your current security clearance or recent criminal background check for another organization or company.

Adult members may wear the USAF-style uniforms or one of the distinctive CAP uniforms, but usually, some type of uniform is required to participate in activities, events and missions.

You will only have access to the base when participating in CAP events.  If your unit meets on a military installation, you will coordinate with the unit to gain access to the base.  You will be allowed to shop at the BX only when on official orders and billeted on the base.  Authorized uniform items can be purchased at the Military Clothing sales store.

Yes! There are many volunteer jobs in CAP. Whatever your talent or area of interest, there is a unit that needs you. To find out what you can do in CAP, contact a local CAP squadron.

CAP does not normally provide primary flight training for members.  That said, we do have a lot of members who are also Certified Flight Instructors and often willing to provide training to members at reduced rates.  Depending on your locality, CAP members may also have access to military aero clubs and their flight instructors which can be significantly cheaper than going through a normal commercial operation.  We have several scholarships that help CAP Cadets obtain a pilot’s license.  See the scholarships page for details.  Once you have your license, you can fly with CAP CFIs in CAP aircraft to increase your ratings which can also be significantly cheaper than a commercial operation again.

CAP membership does not equate to membership in the military.  CAP is a private, non-profit humanitarian organization, which is the official auxiliary of the United States Air Force.

Regular and Reserve officers of the Armed Forces of the United States, active, retired, or honorably discharged, may be advanced to a CAP grade equivalent to their grade in the Armed Forces (but not to exceed lieutenant colonel), in recognition of their military knowledge and experience.

Regular, Reserve, and National Guard Senior Noncommissioned Officers of the Armed Forces or Coast Guard of the United States, active, or retired, in the grade of E-7 through E-9 may receive an advanced CAP grade in recognition of their military knowledge and experience.

Such promotions are neither automatic nor mandatory, but are at the discretion of the promoting authority.

All promotions are at the discretion of your squadron commander, and the standard way to earn rank is determined by your time in CAP, time in your current rank, and the training you complete for your CAP position.   There are other circumstances that warrant a promotion – for specifics, talk to your squadron commander.  In order to receive any promotion, you must be at least 21 years old and have a high school diploma or equivalent.

No, you are a volunteer member of Civil Air Patrol.  All activities you do are donations of your time and expertise to help your country and community.

Aliens admitted for permanent residence are eligible.  Other non-citizens who are legally admitted to the country must request a waiver of the citizenship requirement through the unit they are joining.

To get an understanding of the requirements to become a CAP pilot, go to the following web site: CAP Pilot.

Learn more about Civil Air Patrol