One of the three missions of Civil Air Patrol is Aerospace Education. The authority for CAP’s aerospace education is derived from Public Law 476, 79th Congress, 2nd Session which was signed on 1 July 1946. The law stated the objectives and purposes of CAP were “to provide an organization to encourage and aid American citizens in the contribution of their efforts, services, and resources in the development of aviation and in the maintenance of air supremacy…” and “to provide aviation education and training, especially to the senior and cadet members….”
Aerospace education is defined as “communicating knowledge, skills, and attitudes relating to aerospace activities and the impact of air and space technology upon society.”
Civil Air Patrol aerospace education programs implement the Aerospace Education mission goals and objectives. These Aerospace Education programs provide an understanding and appreciation of aviation and space exploration in our world.
Civil Air Patrol has developed both internal and external aerospace education programs. The internal program provides aerospace education to the CAP membership, both senior and cadet. The external program provides the general public with the aerospace education necessary to ensure the continuing development of aerospace and aerospace supremacy.
“America’s love of manned flight started with the Wright brothers and continues unabated into the 21st century. World War II showcased the important role aviation would play in the future, and national leaders recognized the importance of stimulating public interest in aerospace activities. CAP, as the civilian auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force, was most suited to perform this mission. Efforts focused on two different audiences — internal CAP members and the general public. The internal programs ensure that all CAP members have an appreciation for and knowledge of aerospace issues. A rigourous educational program is offered at every level of CAP organization.
Aerospace educators at CAP’s National Headquarters at Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama, provide materials that reflect the highest standards of educational excellence. The congressional charter also tasked CAP to stimulate public interest in aerospace issues. These external programs are primarily conducted through our nation’s education systems. Each year, CAP supports more than 100 workshops in colleges and universities across the nation, reaching more than 3,000 educators. These workshops highlight basic aerospace knowledge and focus on advances in aerospace technology. Textbooks, learning tools and visual aids geared to stimulate interest in aerospace matters also are provided for teachers to use in their classrooms. Started in 1951, these workshops have reached hundreds of thousands of teachers and students across the nation.”
(Reprinted from the 1999 Annual Report to Congress)