Civil Air Patrol Volunteer Now

Levels of the Course

CAP Course for New Employees

The Five Levels of this CAP Course:
Just as our adult CAP program has five levels of professional development, we offer five levels of orientation into the Civil Air Patrol. Start with Level I and move on to the next level after completing each criterion quiz. Please take a few minutes and discover the AF Auxiliary!


A note about the level criterion quizzes:  These criterion quizzes are designed to measure knowledge obtained in each level and to prepare you for the final exam.  It is virtually impossible for a person who knows very little about the Civil Air Patrol to pass the final exam without completing each criterion quiz first.  However, it becomes relatively easy for those who have completed each level's criterion quiz to pass the final exam and receive their Certificate of Completion.

Training Level Quick Links

Level I
History & Status

Level II
Emergency Services

Level III
Aerospace Education
Level IV
Cadet Programs

Level V
Final Exam


Level I: Haven't heard of Civil Air Patrol?    Civil Air Patrol is a Congressionally chartered, federally supported, non-profit corporation that serves as the Official Auxiliary of the U. S. Air Force.  Its three primary missions are: Emergency Services, Aerospace Education, and Cadet Programs. 
     In 1941, Colonel Eddie Edwards, CAP, was widely known as the first Coastal Patrol (later Civil Air Patrol) pilot to spot a Nazi U-boat off America’s Atlantic coast and radio its position to U.S. naval forces.  The vessel crash-dived and headed for deep water where it was less of a menace to U.S. shipping.
     Based in Delaware, Edwards and his fellow “subchasers” flew off-shore patrols safeguarding oil tankers and other U.S. sea traffic.  On one occasion, he flew in support of a rescue mission involving a member of his unit who had crashed at sea.  He and his commanding officer, Major Hugh Sharp, landed their amphibian aircraft and rescued the downed pilot.  However, in doing so, they damaged one of the pontoons on their aircraft.  In order to return to shore, which was many miles away, Edwards risked personal safety by climbing out onto a wing, using his weight to level the plane, as Sharp water taxied toward the coast.  A half-frozen Edwards clung to the wing through the night until the next morning when a Coast Guard ship arrived to assist with bringing the stricken aircraft to shore.
     For their heroic actions, Edwards and Sharp were presented the first two Air Medals ever awarded to civilian pilots.  Before the end of World War II, 800 more Air Medals had been presented to the “subchasers” who were to become Civil Air Patrol.

 To learn more about the rich history of CAP CONTINUE...
 Click here to learn about CAP's proud history, by accessing the CAP Foundation's brief interactive history site.
CAP Museum



CAP currently has over 1500 units stateside and 6 overseas providing members the opportunity to serve the community and support the various missions of CAP.  For an overview about CAP today, have a look at the Civil Air Patrol Factsheet

After reviewing the Level I materials here, take this short quiz to test your knowledge: 
click here for Level I criterion quiz!

CAP Fact Sheet


Level II-Emergency Services: Want to know how CAP helps the USAF, and federal, state, and local agencies?  CAP does the following:

     Most of those coordinating the massive logistics of the response to the recent Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico were paid staff members from the various agencies involved in the operation.  But, in the center of the several hundred disaster response personnel was Civil Air Patrol playing a significant role with its force of all-volunteer members.  Although not regularly reported by the media during each day of the response, CAP provided daily updates and information concerning the location of the oil and the protective boom system status.
     The most important function CAP performed was flying about 700 miles of coastline from Louisiana to Florida taking digital images of the oil containment barriers and adjacent land area on the coast.  More than 28,000 aerial digital photos were uploaded to Geographic Information System computers where technicians “stitched” the photos together to provide a panoramic view of the coastlines.  CAP is the only organization capable of supplying geo-tagged aerial images at a moment's notice.
     Florida Governor Charlie Crist lauded CAP as a part of the response team when he said, “This level of response can be done only by using the aggressive reconnaissance methods incorporated by Civil Air Patrol from first light each day until dark.”
     In the end, the volunteers of CAP flew 1030 sorties and logged almost 2500 flying hours in response to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill disaster. A total of approximately 18,000 man-hours were amassed over 120 days of support.  All CAP support was provided without personal compensation to any volunteer.
  To learn more about CAP Emergency Services CONTINUE...
CAP's Emergency Services Program:
• Conducts 90 percent of inland search and rescue in the U.S., as tasked by the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center and other agencies.
• Coordinates Air Force-assigned missions through the CAP National Operations Center at Maxwell AFB at a cost of only about $130 per flying hour.
• Performs aerial reconnaissance for homeland security.
• Saves an average of 80 lives per year (72 in FY 2009 & 113 in FY 2010).
• Conducts a National Emergency Services Academy (NESA) annually.
• Provides disaster-relief support to local, state, and national organizations.
• Transports time-sensitive medical materials, blood products, and body tissues when commercial routes are unavailable.
• Provides impact assessment, light transport, communications support, and low-level route surveys for the U.S. Air Force.
• Assists federal law enforcement agencies in the war on drugs.
• Assists with mass casualty exercises-contact your state’s CAP wing commander for this.
• Conducts orientation flights for Air Force Junior and Senior ROTC cadets.
• Maintains the most extensive VHF and HF communications network in the nation.

Click here to learn more about CAP's Emergency Services. Once in, click each icon to review the separate areas.






NESA Webpage






 Emergency Services Webpage






Please review the Civil Air Patrol CAPabilities Handbook, a field operations guide that local, state, and federal agencies can utilize to task CAP for incident response assistance.  This guide identifies ways in which CAP can assist in both routine operations, as well as local and national emergency and humanitarian missions.

After reviewing the Level II materials here, take this short quiz to test your knowledge:  click here for Level II criterion quiz!
CAPabilities Handbook


Level III-Aerospace Education: Are you interested in viewing how CAP promotes learning and educates communities across America on the importance of aerospace today?  CAP is doing the following:
     From 1941 to today, CAP’s Aerospace Education (AE) Programs have supported increased national security.
     On December 1, 1941 the national Director of Civilian Defense established CAP to garner civil aviation resources to be used for homeland security in preparation for World War II.
     In 1946, the US Congress incorporated CAP and chartered it to educate the general public about the importance of maintaining aerospace supremacy for America.
     In 1948, CAP became the civilian volunteer Auxiliary of the newly-created United States Air Force and both organizations joined hands to promote Aerospace Education for the nation.
     Starting in 1953, CAP’s approach to Aerospace Education turned to the American school system, primarily grades K-12, as the best means to educate the general public.  Today, CAP provides educational programs and products to schools to enrich their standard academic subjects using an aerospace theme.  CAP’s programs inspire teachers and students to explore the wonders of the aerospace environment, and to appreciate the Air Force’s role in maintaining aerospace supremacy worldwide to strengthen our nation’s security.
     CAP’s programs not only emphasize aerospace education and associated career opportunities, but they also promote character development, citizenship skills, and physical fitness for America’s youth.
     Students interested in the aerospace environment join organizations such as the CAP Cadet Program, AFJROTC, AFROTC and/or pursue flight/technical training college degrees to prepare for aerospace careers.
     Students who become employed as adults in the aerospace industrial/commercial base, the Air Force, or the DoD (military or otherwise), serve to support worldwide aerospace supremacy for America, and as a result, increase national security--- the primary reason why CAP was created in 1941, incorporated by Congress in 1946, established as the Air Force Auxiliary in 1948, and still exists today.
     In 2008, the National Science Teachers Association endorsed Aerospace Education as an important component of pre-K-12 science education programs.
     All of CAP’s aerospace education materials meet national academic standards.
     To Learn More about CAP Aerospace Education CONTINUE...    
CAP's Aerospace Education Program:
• Educates adult and cadet members and the community on the importance of aerospace.
• Provides support for educational conferences and workshops nationwide.
• Includes Aerospace Education Members: CAP’s teacher members, called Aerospace Education Members, are an important membership category. These teacher members introduce over 100,000 students to CAP’s AE and Cadet Programs each year.  Quality educational products and programs are offered to these teacher members, who many times bring in students to the cadet program, start school cadet units, become senior members to work with cadets, or introduce the community to CAP.
• Includes an Aerospace Connections in Education (ACE) Program for grades K-6: The ACE Program uses the aerospace theme to promote academics, good character, and physical fitness to live a healthy and drug-free lifestyle to young students. 
• Includes Teacher Orientation Program (TOP) Flights: Provides teachers throughout the country with a real flying experience to aid in promoting the importance of aerospace education in the classroom.
• Develops, publishes and distributes national academic standards-based aerospace education curricula for kindergarten through college classrooms.
Click here for award winning AE Publications.
• Offers grant, award, college credit and scholarship opportunities for adult, cadet and teacher members.
• Provides educators with free educational programs, products and services.
• Provides comprehensive aerospace education resources online.
Click here to learn more about Aerospace Education provided by CAP.

 AE Publications








Aerospace Education Webpage

The Aerospace Education Excellence (AEX) Program for grades K-12: Inquiry-based program aligned with national learning standards used to enhance science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) curricula and career interest.  The AEX materials are provided at no cost (that's cost) to CAP members.  For more information on the AEX Program for grades K-12 click here.

After reviewing the Level III materials here, take this short quiz to test your knowledge:  click here for Level III criterion quiz!



Level IV-Cadet Programs:  Would you like to know how CAP promotes leadership, aerospace, fitness and character development in youth across the country?
     CAP’s Cadet Program originated in October 1942 to assist civil aviation in World War II.  Since becoming the Air Forces’ auxiliary in 1948, CAP, with Air Force support, has provided educational products and programs to provide the youth of our nation with a quality program that enhances their leadership skills through an interest in aviation, while simultaneously providing service to the United States Air Force and the more than 1,500 local communities where there is a CAP presence.
    CAP’s adult members educate cadets using aerospace and character development programs and products to promote aerospace knowledge, citizenship skills, and encourage an interest in aerospace-oriented career opportunities.
    Cadets interested in the aerospace environment may further their goals by joining organizations such as AFJROTC, AFROTC, or by pursuing flight/technical college degrees in preparation for careers in aerospace environments.
     To learn more about CAP Cadet Programs CONTINUE...
CAP's Cadet Program:
• Includes approximately 26,000 members ages 12 through 20.
• Educates youth in four main program areas: leadership, aerospace, physical fitness and character development.
Click here for the Cadet Programs Officer's Handbook!
• Provides after-school programs to enrich school curricula.
• Offers orientation flights in powered & glider aircraft, as well as flight training scholarships.
• Fullfils about 10% of cadet positions in each new class entering U.S. Air Force Academy.
• Provides enlistment in the U.S. Air Force, U.S. Army, and U.S. Coast Guard at higher pay grade for cadets who have earned the Gen. Billy Mitchell Award (about 1/2 of the cadet program).
• Provides activities and competitions for cadets at the local, state, and national levels.
• Provides an opportunity to exchange ideas with future aerospace leaders from other countries through the International Air Cadet Exchange program.
• Provides opportunities for college scholarships in several disciplines.
• Provides opportunities for community involvement through color guard/drill team presentations and an active role in emergency service missions.
• Provides opportunities to test-fly careers in aviation, space and technology through dozens of summer activities.
• Challenges youth to be ambassadors for a drug-free lifestyle.
Click here to learn more about CAP's Cadet Programs.




Cadet Officer's Handbook





CAPP-52 Today's Cadets





     CAP is a unique patriotic organization which provides young citizens with the opportunity to be associated which an organization that performs important services for our country.
When natural disasters strike, CAP is often the first on the scene with the ability to provide aerial photography, damage assessment, and ground team relief. Over 60% of CAP’s qualified ground team personnel are cadets, who are highly trained in First Aid, land navigation, survival, electronic direction finding and other critical emergency services skills. The approximate cost to taxpayers for CAP flying related services is $130 per hour.

     Though CAP is best known for search and rescue and disaster relief, its role in Homeland Security continues to increase helping to instill a sense of national pride in our cadets.  Each year, the Civil Air Patrol honors deceased veterans by placing wreaths on their gravesites in military and veteran cemeteries around the country during its annual "Wreaths Across America" campaign.
Parents may learn more about CAP's Cadet Programs by clicking here.

After reviewing the Level IV materials here, take this short quiz to test your knowledge:  click here for Level IV criterion quiz!

Cadet Library Webpage


Level V: Do you think that CAP would be a good opportunity for you or your family to serve in your communities?  The Civil Air Patrol, not only enhances the local community, it also is a valuable resource for Air Force members.  CAP can assist you in emergency response team support, airshow manpower, aerial surveys, and a host of other services that support the USAF...all you need to do is ask. CAP may also provide chaplain support with a simple request to the nearest CAP squadron or HQ CAP/HCA sent via e-mail including requested services & dates.  CAP Volunteer Now...your source for news on CAP’s latest volunteer activities, educational & community services, and other innovative ways that CAP is helping America is the "CAP Volunteer Now" electronic magazine. To view current CAP news and the latest issue of CAP's quarterly award-winning magazine, "CAP Volunteer", visit the on-line "CAP Volunteer Now” magazine. 
 Volunteer Now Webpage

You, your children and their friends can become members in this superb volunteer organization…Civil Air Patrol's members participate in exciting and important volunteer activities to include: search & rescue, humanitarian efforts, Red Cross activities, airshows, and a variety of other community assistance efforts. CAP members are also provided with a wide variety of aerospace education opportunities. The Civil Air Patrol promotes its core values in all they do.  CAP core values are: Integrity, Volunteer Service, Excellence, and Respect.  CAP has integrated these core values into all aspects of the organization.  Membership in the organization consists of cadets ranging from 12 to 20 years of age, and senior members 18 years of age and up. These two groups each have the opportunity to participate in a wide variety of pursuits; the Cadet program contributes to the development of youths with a structured syllabus and an organization based upon United States Air Force ranks and pay grades, while the senior members serve as instructors, supervisors, and operators. All members wear uniforms while performing their duties. It’s a great way to get involved with other good people that are helping your community.  Nationwide, CAP is a major operator of single-engine general aviation aircraft, used in the execution of its various missions, including orientation flights for cadets and the provision of significant emergency services capabilities. Because of these extensive flying opportunities, many CAP members become licensed pilots; and members that are already pilots have the opportunity to obtain higher level pilot certificates and ratings.  Interested in joining?  Click here for information on joining the Civil Air Patrol.

After reviewing the Level V materials here, take this short quiz to test your knowledge:  click here for Level V criterion quiz!

Join CAP


CAP National Headquarters
105 South Hansell Street
Bldg. 714
Maxwell AFB, AL 36112-5937
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Contact Your Local Unit
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