The Civil Air Patrol, full title Sky Watch Civil Air Patrol, was formed in Yorkshire in the year 2000. It is now one of the largest charitable air observation organisations in Europe with some 200 members, together with a fleet of aircraft that includes aeroplanes, light helicopters, autogyros and small unmanned aerial vehicles. There are operational units throughout the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
Our Mission is "To promote for the benefit of the public, the saving of life and the preservation and protection of people and property by the use of aerial observation, over land and water, in order to identify situations where people and property are at risk and then reporting such incidents to and working with the statutory emergency services and such other bodies as deemed appropriate".
The Civil Air Patrol is financed entirely from membership subscriptions and charitable donations. Expenditure is kept to an absolute minimum and is largely restricted to essential administration and insurance fees. Any surpluses are used to pay for essential equipment such as cameras, satellite navigation receivers and safety equipment. Cost sharing between members flying the same aircraft is encouraged.
Membership of the Civil Air Patrol in the United Kingdom is open to any person, over the age of 18 years, with an interest in aviation. The annual membership subscription is the same for all members, currently £15 per annum, and in return, in addition to supporting a worthy cause, members receive a regular journal, 'Observe and Report' and have the opportunity to purchase branded clothing. Those members with their own aircraft are encouraged to meet their international obligations under the ICAO rules and to report any person or vessel in distress by the most expeditious means. Members who have sufficient flying experience and who can make a commitment to be available to assist their local communities may agree to apply to join their local CAP unit subject to a vacancy being available. An application to join the Civil Air Patrol is via the Membership Secretary. An application to join an operational unit should be made to the unit chief pilot after joining the CAP as a member.
The Sky Watch Civil Air Patrol is charitable association which
provides the opportunity for experienced pilots, together with
observers, to conduct simple air observation and photography
flights on behalf of the emergency services and other agencies
such as the Environment Agency and the Scottish Environment
Operational experience and the development of new ideas are
shared with other, similar organizations such as Channel Islands
Airsearch, the Swedish Volunteer Air Corps and, further afield,
the US Civil Air Patrol and the Canadian Civil Air Search and
In the United Kingdom the Civil Air Patrol has no connections
and is not associated in any way with a group called Air Search
and a second group called Highland Air Search.