Search and Rescue Perhaps best known for its search-and-rescue efforts, Civil Air Patrol (CAP) flies more than 85 percent of all federal inland search-and-rescue missions directed by the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center at Tyndall Air Force Base, Fl. Outside the continental United States, CAP supports the Joint Rescue Coordination Centers in Alaska, Hawaii and Puerto Rico. Just how effective are the CAP missions? Nearly 100 people are saved each year by CAP members.
Disaster Assessment In the last several years, CAP has taken on bigger roles in some of the nation’s biggest catastrophic events. Providing aerial support and photography for many of our partner agencies. In addition, Civil Air Patrol makes extensive use of the Airborne Real-time Cueing Hyperspectral Enhanced Reconnaissance system, mounted on the Gippsland GA8 Airvan. The system is able to evaluate spectral signatures given off by certain objects, providing a view and perspective never before seen by many of our partner agencies. As well, the CAP training program has adapted the FEMA National Incident Management System curriculum as part of our member qualifications allowing us to fully integrate when we’re needed.
Disaster Relief Another important service CAP performs is disaster-relief operations. CAP provides air and ground transportation and an extensive communications network. Volunteer members fly disaster-relief officials to remote locations and provide manpower and leadership to local, state and national disaster-relief organizations. CAP has formal agreements with many government and humanitarian relief agencies including the American Red Cross, Federal Emergency Management Agency, Federal Aviation Administration, National Transportation Safety Board and the U.S. Coast Guard.
Humanitarian Services CAP flies humanitarian missions, usually in support of the Red Cross-transporting time-sensitive medical materials including blood and human tissue, in situations where other means of transportation are not available.
Air Force Support It’s hardly surprising that CAP performs several missions in direct support of the U.S. Air Force. Specifically, CAP conducts light transport, communications support, and low-altitude route surveys. CAP also provides orientation flights for AFROTC cadets. Joint U.S. Air Force and CAP search-and-rescue exercises provide realistic training for missions.
Counterdrug CAP joined the “war on drugs” in 1986 when, pursuant to congressional authorization, CAP signed an agreement with the U.S. Air Force and U.S. Customs Service offering CAP resources to help stem the flow of drugs into and within the United States.
CAP aircrews and ground personnel provide transportation for cargo and officials, aerial imagery to aid emergency managers in assessing damage, and donations of personnel and equipment to local, state and federal disaster relief organizations during times of need. In 2011, several tornadoes hit throughout the state of Oklahoma; CAP was instrumental in providing help to affected areas.
Following the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City when all general aviation was grounded, one of the first planes to fly over the destroyed World Trade Center was a CAP aircraft taking photographs.
CAP performs several missions that are not combat-related in support of the United States Air Force, including transportation of officials, communications support and low-altitude route surveys.
In addition, the CAP fleet and senior members are used in training exercises to prepare USAF pilots to intercept enemy aircraft over the Continental United States. Civil Air Patrol aircraft are flown into restricted airspace, where Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcon and F-15 Eagle pilots may practice high-speed intercepts. CAP also assists the United States Coast Guard and Coast Guard Auxiliary and the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Drug Enforcement Administration, and United States Forest Service in the War on Drugs.
CAP Aircrews provided some of the first aerial views of the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina
CAP Performs Missions for America
CAP Aircrews mission planning