CAP maintains both internal and external aerospace education programs. CAP members, both adults and cadets, follow a rigorous program to learn about aviation and aerospace principles. CAP also reaches out to the general public through a special program for teachers at all grade levels. Through this program, CAP provides free classroom materials and lesson plans for aerospace education and each year joins with the U.S. Air Force in sponsoring the National Congress on Aviation and Space Education (NCASE) .. There, educators from across the country learn how to use aviation and space themes in a variety of subject areas. CAP has sponsored NCASE since 1967 and its programs reach more than 50,000 students each year.
Internally, Aerospace Education in Civil Air Patrol is a wide-reaching mission. In addition to learning the mechanics and history of flight, members get the opportunity to experience various aspects of aerospace. Members are given the opportunity to study astronomy. A model rocketry program is available in which cadets study the various types of rockets and build their own rockets. Rockets can range from a simple ”Fuji” rocket to complex rockets built form hobby kits. Cadets will study, build, and launch these rockets.
Another opportunity cadets will have is to build and fly remote-controlled model aircraft. Various models, from simple propeller driven aircraft to jet aircraft are available. This is done as a part of CAP’s MARC (Model And Remote-Controlled) aircraft program. Other opportunities to simulate flight are afforded cadets using flight simulator.
As far as manned flight is concerned, cadets are given the opportunity to fly, along with one of our experienced orientation pilots, in one of our Cessna aircraft. The cadet in the front seat is not only given the opportunity to fly in the aircraft, he or she is also given the opportunity, while the plane is in a safe location at a safe altitude, to take over the controls of the aircraft. On the non-powered side of aircraft, cadets are also offered the opportunity to learn to fly a glider at the wing’s glider academy.
In addition to these orientation flights, when possible, cadets are offered the opportunity to fly in other military aircraft as well. Blackhawk helicopters and C-130 cargo planes are just two examples of the aircraft some of our cadets have experienced.
CAP national activities include a flight academy in which cadets can actually learn to fly. Cadets must attain a certain age and achievement in order to attend this activity. There is a fee for the flight academy, but scholarships may be available.
Robotics has become another integral part of aerospace, as anyone who has ever watched a space shuttle mission has seen. As a part of our Robotics program, cadets area actually given the opportunity to design and build their own small robot. This portion of the program helps cadets learn ways to design, program, and control robotics which is a useful skill for all aspects of today’s industries.
Finally, another aspect of our AE program is Cybersecurity. The purpose of this module is to introduce current threats and vulnerabilities in Cyberspace and to provide some immediate activities for improving collective awareness and defense. This module will be taught in preparation for competition in the CyberPatriot Program, which is sponsored by the Air Force Association. CAP cadets will complete with other service related units for effectiveness in trying to stop or contain potential computer network threats. Approximate date of this competition is November of each year.