America’s love of manned flight started with the Wright Brothers and continues, unabated, during this century. World War II showcased the important role aviation would play in the future, and national leaders recognized the importance of stimulating public interest in aerospace activities. CAP, as the civilian Auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force, was most suited to perform this mission. Their efforts focused on two different audiences – internal CAP members and the general public.
Today, the tradition continues. Internal programs ensure that all CAP members (Seniors and Cadets) gain an appreciation for and knowledge of aerospace topics. Aerospace Educators, working out of CAP’s National Headquarters at Maxwell AFB in Alabama, provide materials that are current and reflect the highest standards of educational excellence. Cadets must complete a self-study program, including an aerospace module, in order to progress through the cadet promotional system. An advanced self-study program is available for those Senior members who desire to become knowledgeable in aerospace topics. Additionally, CAP provides yearly scholarship funds to Cadet and Senior members. These funds offer financial support for college studies in engineering, the humanities, education, science and other STEM fields.
The Congressional Charter also tasked CAP to stimulate public interest in the Nation’s aerospace programs. This goal is accomplished through external programs that are primarily conducted through our nation’s education systems. Each year, CAP sponsors nearly 200 college and university workshops that reach more than 5,000 educators. These workshops highlight basic aerospace knowledge and focus on advances in aerospace technology. Textbooks, learning tools, and visual aids geared to stimulate interest in aerospace are also provided for teachers to use in their classrooms.These materials range from pamphlets and activity booklets to a complete high school elective curriculum. They are produced and sold at a cost far below commercially available products. The CAP maintains close ties with agencies such as the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the National Air and Space Museum, and the Air Force Association. These contacts promote and expand Aerospace Education in the schools throughout the United States. A special category of membership is available for teachers. Aerospace Education Members are offered the opportunity to fly in a CAP airplane to enhance their understanding of aviation and Civil Air Patrol aircraft operations.
At the Iredell Squadron we fully support these programs. Cadets receive high-quality training through hands-on activities, such as rocket building, aerospace related field trips, and monthly aerospace education presentations. CAP personnel are available as a resource to the general public for presentations in schools and at community group meetings upon request. For more information about how educators can become involved with Aerospace Education, click here.
To view some photos from Aerospace events at our Squadron, click here.