About Civil Air Patrol Operational Missions

Civil Air Patrol Gippsland Airvans and Cessna Aircraft form a fleet of over 500 aircraft

Civil Air Patrol is tasked by Congress to provide a variety of missions and operational capabilities to the Air Force, federal agencies, as well as make our services available to state and municipal governments, law enforcement, and other benevolent organizations such as universities, the American Red Cross, and non-profits.

Typical CAP missions include:

  • Search and Rescue — including for missing or overdue aircraft, emergency beacons, missing persons, or stranded hikers.
  • Disaster Relief — including real-time aerial damage assessment and airborne photography; ground personnel for assistance with relief supplies distribution, emergency communications, logistics or shelter management, ensuring public safety; and ICS-trained mission base support personnel.
  • Law Enforcement Support — including transportation of LEOs, homeland defense training, and actual reconnaissance, SAR, or joint-agency missions for state and federal LEAs (as permitted by Posse Comitatus).

    CAP maintains its own national communication infrastructure

  • Aerial Photography & Reconnaissance — including photographing infrastructure, disaster areas (for damage or situational assessments), and intelligence gathering.

Civil Air Patrol uses both its fleet of 550 aircraft (the world’s largest such fleet) and trained mission aircrew, as well as trained and experienced ground teams which can put boots on the ground to coordinate with CAP aircraft.

See our full CAP Capabilities Guide for more information.

Request Civil Air Patrol Services & Resources

If you are a local, state, or federal government agency or a civil organization interested in requesting Civil Air Patrol support or resources, see our guide to Requesting CAP Support.

Volunteer for Civil Air Patrol Operations

If you are interested in becoming a trained volunteer with Civil Air Patrol, view current opportunities and contact our squadron. You could receive training from Civil Air Patrol to become an aircrew member, emergency management or disaster support specialist, ground search and rescue technician, or qualified in other specialties regardless of your current skills.  Find out how.