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Become an Adult Volunteer

Civil Air Patrol’s adult volunteers support programs and accomplish missions as well as contribute to the operation of individual units by holding a variety of duty positions. Some take leadership roles as squadron commanders. Others focus on more specific responsibilities with a wide range of options, including communications, emergency services, finance, logistics, marketing, personnel, and transportation.

Some adult volunteers choose to focus their contributions on the cadet program, providing guidance and serving as a positive role model. It is common for parents of cadets to choose this path in Civil Air Patrol, though many ultimately expand their area of responsibility within their squadrons to take on roles outside the cadet program.

Many Ways to Serve

Opportunities to serve are boundless. Some members are interested in aviation and choose to serve on aircrews — as a pilot, observer, scanner, or airborne photographer — but that is just one aspect of Civil Air Patrol. To function effectively, CAP also needs educators, lawyers, IT professionals, chaplains, drivers, administrative professionals, and more. Whatever your background or experience, there is a role for you in Civil Air Patrol.

Real-World Missions

Civil Air Patrol conducts a variety of emergency services and humanitarian missions, including search and rescue, disaster relief, ground and airborne photography, HF/VHF communications support, remote aircraft escort and training, and aerial support for special events. Members must become qualified to participate in or provide operations support for missions.


Civil Air Patrol operates the world’s largest fleet of single‐engine piston aircraft. Volunteering as a pilot is an excellent way to remain current and work on an advanced rating while giving back to the community though aviation. Flying CAP aircraft to maintain currency is much less expensive than renting a comparable aircraft.

Depending on experience, members can quickly move from VFR pilot to transport pilot to orientation pilot, allowing them to give cadets orientation flights, and then ultimately to mission pilot. Mission pilots may fly search and rescue missions and participate in disaster relief efforts, and many participate in other types of missions tasked to Civil Air Patrol.

CAP also has thousands of small Unmanned Aerial Systems (sUAS) and needs remote pilots with a Federal Aviation Administration Part 107 certificate to work in the sUAS program. Training is offered for those who are working on FAA certification.

How to Join

Here are the steps to join CAP as an adult member:

Step 1

Find a local CAP squadron. There may be more than one near you.

Step 2

Contact the squadron and arrange to visit a meeting. Visit more than one squadron if you wish. 

Step 3

After the squadron commander and membership review board approve your membership, complete the membership application and FD 258 fingerprint card (available at your squadron).

Step 4 

Submit your application, fingerprint card, and dues as directed by your squadron.

Some of the requirements to become an adult member of Civil Air Patrol are:

  • Be at least 18 years of age. 
  • Be a citizen of the United States or an alien lawfully admitted for permanent residence. (A lawfully admitted noncitizen residing in the U.S. may have this waived by National Headquarters.)
  • Be accepted by the membership board of the Civil Air Patrol unit you are joining.
  • If former military, you must have been discharged under honorable conditions. 
  • Complete an FBI criminal background check.
  • Have no felony convictions.

CAP Alumni

Nearly 1 million members have served in Civil Air Patrol since its founding in 1941. If you are one of them, connect with other alumni members at

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