How to become a CAP Pilot

If you are 18 years and older, a CAP member, and have more than 175 hours as pilot in command, you could be a valued asset to the organization by becoming a Search and Rescue Mission Pilot Trainee. The first step is becoming a CAP Pilot and earning your wings.

If you are not a pilot, or if you are a pilot with less than 175 hours of pilot-in-command time, consider first becoming a Mission Observer.

Below is a systematic list of instructions explaining how to become a pilot in Civil Air Patrol.

We have kinds of aircraft but mostly Cessna highwing airplanes excellent for the missions we perform. You need an initial checkout in this aircraft and each type you want to fly in CAP. You must complete Level 1 Orientation, Cadet Protection and OpSec prior to becoming a CAP Pilot.


1. Obtain your CAP ID card and your CAP uniform

2. As a basic qualification, you must be an FAA licensed Private Pilot or above, hold a current class 3 medical certificate and be current to carry passengers.

3. Your logbook must contain a current flight review, in accordance with FAR 61.56. Search for 61.56.

Study this material

G-1000 Form 5

  • Optionally, you may also complete your Form 5 in the G1000, however we highly recommend that you add the G1000 after your initial Form 5. The Abbreviated Form 5 is used to add additional aircraft such as the G-1000 or Cessna 206.
  • CAP National G-1000 site is located Here.
  • G1000 Study Material on eServices-> G1000 Study Material
  • An excellent G-1000 training website is Capt Russell Still's Introduction to the G1000 locatedHere.

Complete these Tests

  • For an initial or annual CAPF 5 flight check, take and pass the current online CAPR 60-1 Form 5 Annual Examination–Powered. This is a 21-question, open book test that can be found on eServices-> Utilities-> Online Aeronautical Education-> Select Quiz. You must complete it not more than 90 days before your flight check. Print the completion certificate and bring it with you to the flight check. This examination is not required if you have a current CAPF 5 and are simply adding a new aircraft qualification.
  • If you are or wish to become a Cadet Orientation Pilot, also take and pass the current online Cadet Orientation Pilot Quiz, either with or without ROTC. This is also an open-book test and can be found by following the link above. Print the completion certificate and bring it with you to the flight check.

Complete these Documents

  • Complete an Airplane Questionnaire Attachment 3 to CAPR 60-1 in original ink, for the aircraft to be used.
  • Download and print two copies of the CAP Form 5. Fill in all of the top boxes except the Additional CAP Endorsements section. If you anticipate flying a CAP aircraft in IMC then check the Instrument box and be prepared to demonstrate instrument proficiency. If you have 200+ hours PIC time, then check the Cadet Orientation Pilot box so you can fly cadets on Orientation Flights.

Prepare for the Flight Check

  • Your CAPF 5 oral evaluation will be based mainly on the following regulations, so you should refresh your knowledge of them before the flight check.
    • Parts 61 and 91 of the Federal Aviation Regulations.
    • Aeronautical Information Manual.
    • CAPR 60-1, CAP Flight Management.
    • CAPP 52-7, Cadet Orientation Flight Syllabus, if you wish to become a Cadet Orientation Pilot (requires at least 200 hours PIC). Click Here.
    • AFROTC MOU, If you wish to fly funded AFROTC flights (requires at least 300 hours PIC) you will need to review the AFROTC MOU. Search for AFROTC/AFJROTC/CAP Flight Orientation Program.
    • It is recommended that you take the short CAPF 5 On-line Course:
    • It is recommended that you take the online Cessna 182 Course. Log on e-Services. Regular CAPID etc., On lower left of the page, press National Tech Center, nn left menu in the NTC page, press Operations etc., Within the Operations menu in the middle of the page, Select T182 course.
    • Review the CAPF 5, Attachment 5 to CAPR 60-1, and the current FAA Private Pilot PTS for the class of airplane to be used. If you are instrument rated and plan to seek instrument privileges in CAP aircraft, you should also review the current FAA Instrument Rating PTS. These documents will tell you how the flight check will be performed and what maneuvers you may be required to demonstrate. If you are not sure how to perform a maneuver, consult a publication such as the FAA’s Airplane Flying Handbook or Flight Training Handbook, Gleim’s Private Pilot Flight Maneuvers, or ASA’s Visualized Flight Maneuvers for High-Wing Aircraft.
    • Review the Emergency Procedures section of the checklists found here. Note that these check lists are not normally used, as the manufactures checklist is preferred.


  • eServices validation: Enter in all of your FAA Pilot qualifications using eServices->My Operations Qualifications->FAA Requirements links. Then use the link->Checkride/Questionnairesfor entering questionaire and checkride information.
  • Upload the scanned copies of the FAA Documents documents using eServices->My Operations Qualifications->Pilot->FAA Questionnaires->View/Upload Documents->Pilot link and eMail the Commander to let him know that they are awaiting validation. This must be done before you fly.

Form 5 Preparation Flights (Optional)

  • Schedule a familiarization/preparation flight with an Instructor Pilot You will need to know systems, emergency procedures, weight & balance, flight release, etc. Also, familiarize yourself with the CAP Aircraft Information File that is kept in the plane. CAP corporate planes are used for 99% of our flying. Ensure your proficiency level meets at least the Private Pilot PTS.
  • Have your IP get a flight release since the FRO will only "release” the PIC. However, you need to know the procedure so have your IP go over it with you.
  • Know where the aircraft is and how to get into the lock box for the keys. Your IP may have to show you the first time.
  • Get to the aircraft early and use the POH and other on-board documents to fill out the Airplane Questionnaire. Get your IP to check it with you for correctness.
  • Make sure your IP goes over the Aircraft Information File with you so you understand what it contains and how to determine Airworthiness of the aircraft. Make sure he goes over what paperwork entries are required for each flight.

Schedule your Form 5

  • Go to the Stan/Eval page and print a copy of the list of Check Pilots (CP). Select a check pilot, call and schedule your check ride.
  • Since this is your first CAP Form 5 check ride, your CP will have to get the flight release, but he will question you on the proper procedure during the oral portion of your exam.

To Bring to the Form 5

  • Bring the following items with you to the flight check:
    • FAR/AIM.
    • POH, AFM or Information Manual for the aircraft being used.
    • Copy of the current CAPR 60-1 & Wing supplement.
    • Copy of CAPP 52-7 & Wing supplement, if applicable.
    • Completion certificate from CAPR 60-1 Form 5 annual examination.
    • Completion certificate from Cadet Orientation Pilot Quiz, if applicable.
    • CAP Form 5 with top portion filled out.
    • Aircraft weight and balance calculation using the form found on you squadron's website, the Empty Weight and Moment Arm from the actual POH, and ask the Check Pilot their weight,
    • Pilot certificate.
    • Current medical certificate.
    • Pilot logbook (to prove currency).
    • Your CAP ID.
    • Headset.
    • Current Sectional and Terminal Area Chart for the local area.
    • Current Airport/Facility Directory for the local area.
    • Current instrument low-level enroute and approach charts for the local area (instrument pilots only).
    • View-limiting device (whether or not you are instrument rated).
    • A check made out to "Civil Air Patrol" for payment of the aircraft hourly fee. Current hourly rates can be found in the current CAPR173-3, found Here. The check is to be left in the zippered pouch in the Aircraft Information File.
    • A check, credit card or cash to pay for fuel.

Aircrew Uniform

  • Wear a Nomex Flight Suit and black boots with the appropriate badges and name tag. For detailed purchase and wear instructions ask your commander.

Pass the oral exam and the check ride

  • Be prepared, relax and have a successful check ride. (Remember that the CP is only there to evaluate your flying skills, this is NOT an instructional session.

Post Form 5

  • Remember, you are not yet a CAP Pilot, and cannot act as PIC in CAP aircraft, until the squadron Commander has copies of all your paperwork, validated all of your pilot qualifications and you are approved as a CAP VFR Pilot in e-services. Once this is all done, you can then act as PIC and can wear the CAP Pilot aeronautical rating (wings).
  • Go to eServices > My Operations Qualifications >Checkride/Questionnaires > Airplane to enter the initial Form 5 and questionnaire information. See below for specific instructions:
    • Enter the Questionnaire information using eServices->My Operations Qualifications->Pilot-> Checkride/Questionnaires->Airplane->Questionnaires by entering the questionnaire date and type.
    • Upload the scanned copies of the CAPF 5 using eServices->My Operations Qualifications->Pilot-> Checkride/Questionnaires->Airplane->View/Upload Documents->Pilot link.
    • Enter your initial Form 5 using eServices->My Operations Qualifications->Pilot-> Checkride/Questionnaires->Aircraft->Add Initial Form 5 link and enter Initial Date and Initial Aircraft Type.
    • eMail the Commander for validation
    • The Group and Wing Director of Standard and Evaluation (DOV) will need to approve your rating, before you fly again.
    • Confirm that your CAP Pilot rating has been approved using eServices->My Operations Qualifications->Pilot->CAP Ratings->Pilot Rating is checked off. To see more pilot qualifications details check on View Qualifications.
  • When you have completed your Form 5 check ride and all of your information has been validated you will then able to be released to fly CAP aircraft. All flights are required to be entered into the Web Information Reporting System (WMIRS). You will need to obtain a user ID and Password to gain access. Once you have access, you may log on and review the WMIRS Instructions which will detail how to enter the information on your flights. WMIRS can be accessed at (

Mission Pilot

  • Begin training for Mission Pilot!

Wings Credit

All CAP members wishing to participate in the Wings Program, whether pilots or not, must update their account information or register for the program at To allow the two databases to match your identity, CAP members will have to enter and save their CAP ID numbers in "Account Preferences” under the tab labeled "Other”.

Once, a Wings Program accredited activity is completed, safety education credit will be automatically uploaded into eServices. Additionally, for rated pilots, Biennial Flight Reviews will be automatically uploaded into Ops Quals. In the near future, CAP safety education courses will be created to meet Wings Program requirements. At that point, whenever a Wings registered CAP member completes a CAP Wings approved safety course, credit will automatically upload to the Wings Program database. Soon, CAP will also be able to upload a successful CAPF 5 annual flight evaluation for Wings accreditation.

For additional information, please contact your unit or wing safety officer or commander, or send a message to Please do not contact the FAA directly. Your cooperation and support is appreciated.

Portions of this guide courtesy of CAWG Squadrons 14 and 188