The Civil Air Patrol has more than 61,000 members: Almost 35000 adult members and nearly 27,000 in cadet programs. They come from varied backgrounds from police chiefs to schoolteachers and from big cities and small towns. These differences matter little. What does though is that all of these people want to be involved in their community -- they want to help others -- and they share a love of aviation.
The CAP Corporation owns 540 light aircraft, primarily Cessna 172s and 182s. Additionally, CAP members own another 4,700 aircraft that can be used to support assigned missions. When all of these assets are combined, CAP operates the world's largest fleet of civil aircraft and flies nearly 130,000 hours each year. An often overlooked resource is the number and experience of CAP pilots. One-third of all CAP members are FAA-qualified pilots.
In addition to aircraft, the CAP Corporation owns 950 ground vehicles to support their missions. Many of these vehicles are equipped with sophisticated communications equipment that becomes invaluable during disasters or extended SAR missions. The counter drug mission is supported by airborne video and thermal imaging equipment.
CAP members are trained and qualified in many emergency serivices specialties. Members are first trained in the National Incident Management System and CAP response policy. After qualifying for basic emergency services participation, they then can enter many additional training specialties, including pilot and aircrew, ground search, communications, mission management, logistics, etc. Upon completion of preparatory training, the members enter trainee status, and with field and exercise experience then become fully qualified responders. Approximately one third of all CAP members are emergency services qualified. CAP maintains a national database of training levels of its members.
The Civil Air Patrol operates one of the largest communications systems in the country with more than 6,000 fixed land stations and more than 10,000 land and airmobile radios operated by over 20,000 trained communicators. This system consists of voice and automatic digital communications capabilities on long and short circuit paths. Hundreds of individual networks are linked together to form a highly flexible and survivable nationwide traffic handling system.
The CAP National Digital Radio Network has drawn particular interest from other organizations such as the Federal Emergency Management Agency which has joined the network and included it in their emergency communications planning. The NDRN consists of more than 2,000 computer based radio stations which take advantage of leading edge technology to automatically establish links as necessary and pass error-free message traffic throughout the system. Because the system doesn't rely on telephone lines, it is highly survivable in the event of natural or man-made disasters and--also because of its radio-based architecture--it is extremely flexible allowing end-users to "plug" into the system from anywhere within radio range of one of the 500-plus system nodes across the country.
Supplies & Equipment
CAP screens mission-essential property from Defense Re-utilization and Marketing Offices as a federal agent. Each level of CAP also has a combination of appropriated, state, and donated funds to purchase equipment and support their missions.
"Civil Air Patrol's accomplishments are increasing; membership is stabilizing; flying hours, assigned missions and 'saves' are looking good; and the accident rate-- none better."
Lt. Gen. Jay W. Kelley, U.S. Air Force
Copyright 2012 - Delaware Wing Civil Air Patrol