CAP is still best known for its search and rescue mission. Civil Air Patrol air and ground teams perform 85 percent of inland search-and-rescue missions for the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center. These
volunteers donate their time and labor, receiving reimbursement for fuel and oil only, thus saving the taxpayers millions of dollars. More than 100 lives are saved every year by CAP members performing search and rescue missions!
CAP’s disaster relief missions, such as those during hurricanes and floods, often don’t make headlines, but CAP provides both air and ground transportation and an extensive communications network. CAP provides an aerial photo platform for many disaster relief responder agencies. Many CAP aircraft are equipped with slow scan video technology that enables them to transmit damage assessment
photos, flood stage observations and traffic conditions to the agency within seconds of taking the photo. CAP members also fly disaster relief officials to remote locations and support local, state and national disaster relief organizations with manpower and leadership. CAP ground teams provide vital
assistance to disaster relief operations.
The CAP Emergency Communications Network spans the country with a data and voice net built to survive the loss of civil communications. With one of the most sophisticated communications networks in the nation, CAP supports local, state, and federal agencies during disaster relief, search and rescue and many other emergencies. The fleet of 530 CAP-owned aircraft communicates on CAP’s own dedicated frequencies, while new systems coordinate and track search flights via sophisticated datalink.
As the official auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force, it’s not surprising that Civil Air Patrol performs vital Air Force missions upon request. This support includes air search and rescue on USAF directed missions, light transport, communications support and low-altitude route surveys.
All in all, there are numerous reasons for enthusiastic, aviation-oriented volunteers to join one of this country’s premier service organizations.