What is a Senior Member?

Though Civil Air Patrol is known for its flying missions, CAP adults members, known as Senior Members, do so much more than just fly. In fact less than a fifth of all CAP members are pilots or aircrew members. CAP adult members come from all walks of life. Some are doctors, nurses, paramedics, or other medical professionals. Others are lawyers, paralegals, accountants, computer programmers, and other business professionals and executives. Really just about any career or background can be useful to and found in the ranks of the CAP adult membership. CAP supports a variety of missions that require adults from all walks of life.

In emergency services and operations CAP not only need aircrew members, but also ground team members to aid in the rescue of survivors or to assess damage after a disaster. CAP needs communications personnel to relay critical messages when there is limited or no telephone support.  Administrative staff, financial managers, logistics and supply personnel are needed to document missions and get personnel critical supplies and equipment in the field that they need to conduct missions.

CAP also needs adults to support the cadet program. CAP has over 24,000 cadets across the country that need mentors willing to help guide and support them. The cadet program provides young adults between the ages of 12 and 21 a well rounded program of leadership, aerospace education, physical fitness, and moral and ethical decision making. In today’s world we need good people who are willing to step up and help provide a healthy, drug-free environment to develop tomorrow’s leaders. Many former cadets have gone into the military, government jobs, or private sector employment where they can and do make a difference, and really excel. There are many military general officers that were once CAP cadets.  Senators and congressman, CEOs and others credit their success to CAP and the adult members who mentored them.

CAP needs adults for its aerospace education program. In addition to educating our own members, CAP’s adult leaders provide training and resources to teachers who reach out to students of all ages across the country.  Aviation and aerospace impacts the lives of Americans every day, and CAP works to ensure that citizens know how valuable aviation and aerospace is in our world.

Contact our Commander today!

Maj Dave Kalahar, CAP


Senior Members must be at least 18 years old. There is no maximum age limit.
No, you do not have to join the military.
Regular and Reserve officers of the Armed Forces of the United States, active, retired, or honorably discharged, may be advanced to a CAP grade equivalent to their grade in the Armed Forces (but not to exceed lieutenant colonel), in recognition of their military knowledge and experience.

Regular, Reserve, and National Guard Senior Noncommissioned Officers of the Armed Forces or Coast Guard of the United States, active, or retired, in the grade of E-7 through E-9 may receive an advanced CAP grade in recognition of their military knowledge and experience.

Such promotions are neither automatic nor mandatory, but are at the discretion of the promoting authority.

Senior members may be required to wear a uniform during some activities – such as when flying in CAP aircraft. Senior members may wear the USAF style blue uniform or one of the distinctive CAP uniforms. However, some members choose to serve quietly without wearing a uniform. You can purchase uniform items from Vanguard. www.civilairpatrolstore.com
You will only have access to the base when participating in CAP events. You will be allowed to shop at the BX only when on official orders and lodged on the base. Authorized uniform items can be purchased at the Military Clothing sales store.
Aliens admitted for permanent residence are eligible. Other non-citizens must request a waiver of the citizenship requirement through the wing and region commander.
There are many volunteer positions in CAP. Whatever your talent or area of interest, there is a squadron or unit that needs you. To find out what positions might be available to you, contact the squadron.
To be eligible to fly a corporate aircraft, the pilot must possess a valid FAA private, commercial or airline pilot certificate; must be an active CAP member at least 17 years in age; and must possess a valid and current medical certificate. The member must complete a flight check in the aircraft within the preceding 12 months as well as an annual written examination and annual aircraft questionnaires for each aircraft authorized to fly. The pilot must have 200 PIC hours and 50 cross-country PIC hours to serve as a mission pilot.
CAP does not normally provide primary flight training for members. That said, we do have a lot of members who are also Certified Flight Instructors and often willing to provide training to members at reduced rates. Depending on your locality, CAP members may also have access to military aero clubs and their flight instructors which can be significantly cheaper than going through a normal commercial operation. We have several scholarships that help CAP Cadets obtain a pilot’s license. See our scholarships page for details. Once you have your license, you can fly with CAP CFIs in CAP aircraft to increase your ratings which can also be significantly cheaper than a commercial operation again.
Most squadrons meet weekly for about 2 1/2 hours, and offer special activities on the weekends and during the summer.
All promotions are at the discretion of the squadron commander, but the standard way to earn rank is determined by your time in CAP, time in your current rank, and the training you complete for your CAP position. There are other circumstances that warrant a promotion – for specifics, talk to the squadron commander. In order to receive any promotion, you must be at least 21 years old and have a high school diploma or equivalent.
CAP has approximately 550 aircraft, mostly Cessna 182s and 172s. CAP has the largest fleet of single-engine piston aircraft in the world and through CAP’s volunteer members, CAP logs about 120,000 flying hours per year.
In order to ensure the best possible protection of CAP cadets, all senior members are fingerprinted and checked by the FBI to ensure no one with any violent or sexual-assault felony convictions has contact with the cadets.
Once National Headquarters receives the completed application, fingerprint card, and correct dues the process generally takes 3-5 business days. However, if you’re membership is not yet active, please ask the squadron commander if he has sent your application to NHQ. If he has, you can email NHQ for an update on the status of your membership at membershipservices@capnhq.gov.
No, you are a volunteer member of Civil Air Patrol. All activities you do are donations of your time and expertise to help your country and community.
No, you are a civilian and do not have any obligation to any branch of the military. You can not be deployed, called to active duty, or forced to serve in any branch of the US Armed Services in any way. CAP members are not eligible to receive any Veterans Administration Benefits for their volunteer service to Civil Air Patrol.
Having an arrest/conviction (or other similar charges) does not automatically preclude you from membership. We can not make a determination until after you apply for membership in CAP. Just make sure that you note the charges on the application and supply any required information. Once the application comes to National Headquarters the Confidential Screening Coordinator will review your case.
Civil Air Patrol does not preclude membership due to medical conditions or disabilities. However, participation in certain activities may be limited depending on the condition, illness or disability.
Annual membership dues are $79 for members of California Wing.
Attend your first squadron meeting, Senior Members meet each Tuesday at 19:00 (7:00 PM). Just show up! We’ll answer any other questions you may have.