Civil Air Patrol’s aerospace education program is designed to educate youth and inform the public about air and space matters. America’s leadership in aviation and the space program have had an impact on everyone’s life, whether it is in learning more about the world or the solar system around us or in development of new technology and products to enhance our quality of life. Aerospace education can excite young people to learn more about math, science, technology, history, and other subjects. Lessons which are deemed boring by school students suddenly take on new meaning and direction when they are associated with the fascinations of flight and space.
Internal education efforts include instruction for both cadets and senior members within the Civil Air Patrol organization. Cadet member training includes learning and testing from a six chapter text, with topics ranging from history of flight, through flight principles and operations, to aerospace careers. Youth members also are involved in an orientation flight program and other aviation related activities. Senior members are involved in mission flight training and support activities, together with training and teaching about aerospace.
External education includes Civil Air Patrol presentations to school and community groups and activities which heighten awareness in aviation-related matters. During the past 30 years, CAP has supported some 4,000 aerospace education workshops for teachers and education officials at more than 250 colleges and universities around the country. These programs have prepared nearly 200,000 educators to teach aerospace-related courses in their schools and to enrich ordinary classroom subjects. Other important services include curriculum planning assistance at all levels and development of educational materials for use by teachers in their classrooms. The Civil Air Patrol Center for Aerospace Education Development publishes and distributes materials to educators which range from pamphlets and activity booklets to a complete high school elective course. These materials are produced and sold at a cost far below commercially available products.
CAP keeps in close contact with education departments at all levels and with agencies such as the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the National Air and Space Museum, and the Air Force Association in order to promote and expand aerospace education in the nation’s schools. The Civil Air Patrol also sponsors the annual National Congress on Aviation and Space Education which is designed to assist educators, both externally and internally, in keeping up to date on current aerospace activities. Cadet and senior members of the organization can vie for annual scholarships which help finance college studies in engineering, the humanities, education, science and other air and space-related fields.