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FlyingMonkey

Is The Civil Air Patrol (CAP) a Menace?

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Does anybody else have problem with Civil Air Patrol (CAP) pilots at their airfields?

 

At my home field, they are literally the Barney Fifes of the sky.  If somebody is screwing something up around our airport, you can set your watch by the fact that it's a CAP flight.  They don't listen to the radio, fly non-standard patterns (if they even fly a pattern), conflict with other traffic, and are just generally a PITA.  Latest example:

 

PILOT 1:  "Cessna 1234, turning left crosswind, runway 23, Winder"

 

PILOT 2:  "Experimental 9876 midfield left downwind, runway 23, Winder"

 

ME : "Flight Design 509CT turning left base, runway 23, touch-and-go, Winder" 

 

CAP: "CAP 5555, three miles north, maneuvering to enter a right base for runway 23, full stop, Winder"

 

ME: "Uh, CAP flight you have three airplanes making left traffic for 23, including traffic on left base.  Is it still your intention to make a right base for 23?"

 

CAP: "Affirmative.  CAP 5555 making right base for 23."

 

ME:  "That's really stupid, and against the FARs.  I think you should do something else."

 

[long pause]

 

CAP:  "CAP 5555 is overflying the field, we're going to enter a left downwind for 23."

 

:rolleyes:

 

I don't usually call people out on the radio, but this "pilot" was endangering three other flights with his foolishness.  Plus this was about the last straw for me with CAP flights.  I'm done being nice to those guys when they are causing safety issues for everybody.

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Morden, you are gonna get into a tangle by admonishing someone in the air that way.  It's okay to remind someone what the pattern is, but to call him 'stupid' is inviting an incident or worse....remember, you two are not the only ones on frequency...

 

The Civil Air Patrol are volunteers who do good work.  Casting a pall over all of CAP because of one guy making one mistake is unfair, IMHO.

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I think you missed my point.  This is not one mistake, this is a pattern of reckless and dangerous behavior.  everybody at my home airfield is fed up with these guys, I'm not the only one.

 

That's what I'm asking, if this is a local problem or a more widespread problem.  The problem here is not just one CAP pilot.

 

As I said, I'm usually not so "pointed" on the air, but when I'm on left base and somebody else is approaching right base to the same runway against regulations and common sense, you'd better believe I'm going to pipe up.  I gave him the opportunity to make a different choice, and he ignored it.  I didn't feel I had a lot of time to impress on him how dumb he was being, since he was approaching and I didn't have a visual on him.  

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 The interesting part is that Andy got the pilot's attention. After a long pause apparently he decided to follow a prudent course of action and break off the right base approach. However, did he decide to fly over the field at pattern altitude and then join left downwind? 

  If the pilot felt he was doing the right thing why then did he break off and do something different?

 

 Better to call the guy 'stupid' and get their attention than be involved in a collision. Sharing the airspace with an idiot is unfair to anyone and everyone, including those on the ground below.

 

Makes no mind how wonderful the CAP is as an organization…it's the one member in the plane flying towards you in the pattern that's the problem.

One idiot certainly doesn't 'cast a pall' over the entire organization….but an accident caused by them certainly would. A chat with their commander would also go a long ay to alleviating the continuing 'problem'.

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I manage a small airport, but we don't have any CAP on the field. All of out runways are left traffic, and from time to time I have to remind people of that. The biggest offenders are corporate and charter pilots trying to save a little flying time. The others are instructors and students from a nearby towered airport. A few weeks ago I spoke to a student that had came in on a cross country flight. I suggested that he talk with his instructor when he got home about the part 91 requirements for operating at a airport in class "G" airspace, because he flew right traffic. I hope he did, that way maybe both he and his instructor will learn something.

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Maybe I'll try to find the commander and have a chat.  It's hard to know who that would be, since there are several CAP outfits in the general area and I don't know which airport they fly out of.  Next time (and believe me, there will be a next time) I'll get the tail number.

 

One of the local CFIs heard the exchange and applauded me when I landed, and we had a long frank discussion about the situation.  He said he's had many issues and a couple of close calls with them, and thought the local CAP pilots are not proficient.  So I know I'm not the only frustrated pilot around here regarding CAP.

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I manage a small airport, but we don't have any CAP on the field. All of out runways are left traffic, and from time to time I have to remind people of that. The biggest offenders are corporate and charter pilots trying to save a little flying time. The others are instructors and students from a nearby towered airport. A few weeks ago I spoke to a student that had came in on a cross country flight. I suggested that he talk with his instructor when he got home about the part 91 requirements for operating at a airport in class "G" airspace, because he flew right traffic. I hope he did, that way maybe both he and his instructor will learn something.

 

All traffic at WDR is left traffic, but we'll have pilots occasionally fly right traffic (usually a base leg) to save some time or gas.  It's against the FARs, but there's usually nobody else in the pattern when it happens and a lot of times it's a PC-12 or other plane that really drinks gas, so I understand their temptation.

 

 It's an uncontrolled airport, people will do what people will do.  I'm only going to get cross when it's putting people and/or property in jeopardy.  

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As a 30 year CAP pilot, SAR pilot, Mission Check Pilot with over 400 missions and former commander of a New York group,  I can attest to the professionalism of CAP pilots.

 

Andy, If there is a problem at your airport you can talk to the Air Ops Officer at your field. He'll get the word out to his group and surrounding groups. You can also go to one of their meetings to vent your frustrations.

 

All CAP aircraft must use call signs such as CAPFLIGHT 1234 etc. No need to get a visual on the tail number.

 

Unfortunately we all make mistakes from time to time, most are not serious. This pilot may have been confused with his/her home airport or an airport from a previous flight with a RH pattern, got flustered, confused, may be newley minted and a little nervous. Who knows for sure? If the pilot landed at your field, it would have given you a chance to speak directly to that pilot. May be a little harder to face after your comment on the radio which could have made that pilot think about the comment instead of concentrating on the flight at hand.

 

I agree with Sport Pilot "Runway 23 is left traffic". Nothing demeaning should go over the air.

 

I remember landing short at a tower controlled airport when I was much younger. I was practicing emergency landings and was trying to hit the numbers. So, not to add power, I landed on the threshold, about 25 feet from the runway marker. The controller came on the radio and asked if I'd phone the tower after landing, which I did. He asked that I not do that again, on a private line.

 

Any way, CAP pilots put in a lot of time, go through a lot of training and testing, fill out mounds of paper work and do their very best. Hopefully none of us will come to need their expertise. But if so, they are there 24/7/365 ready to help out in disaster releif, help law inforcement, find a downed aircraft and save lives and teach the young Cadets. Many go on to the Air Force Academy and become our next generation of proud defenders.

 

Rich

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As a 30 year CAP pilot, SAR pilot, Mission Check Pilot with over 400 missions and former commander of a New York group,  I can attest to the professionalism of CAP pilots.

 

Andy, If there is a problem at your airport you can talk to the Air Ops Officer at your field. He'll get the word out to his group and surrounding groups. You can also go to one of their meetings to vent your frustrations.

 

All CAP aircraft must use call signs such as CAPFLIGHT 1234 etc. No need to get a visual on the tail number.

 

Unfortunately we all make mistakes from time to time, most are not serious. This pilot may have been confused with his/her home airport or an airport from a previous flight with a RH pattern, got flustered, confused, may be newley minted and a little nervous. Who knows for sure? If the pilot landed at your field, it would have given you a chance to speak directly to that pilot. May be a little harder to face after your comment on the radio which could have made that pilot think about the comment instead of concentrating on the flight at hand.

 

I agree with Sport Pilot "Runway 23 is left traffic". Nothing demeaning should go over the air.

 

I remember landing short at a tower controlled airport when I was much younger. I was practicing emergency landings and was trying to hit the numbers. So, not to add power, I landed on the threshold, about 25 feet from the runway marker. The controller came on the radio and asked if I'd phone the tower after landing, which I did. He asked that I not do that again, on a private line.

 

Any way, CAP pilots put in a lot of time, go through a lot of training and testing, fill out mounds of paper work and do their very best. Hopefully none of us will come to need their expertise. But if so, they are there 24/7/365 ready to help out in disaster releif, help law inforcement, find a downed aircraft and save lives and teach the young Cadets. Many go on to the Air Force Academy and become our next generation of proud defenders.

 

Rich

 

As I said, this may be a purely local thing.  I understand the CAP mission and don't have anything bad to say about it or the concept behind the CAP.  The point of this thread was really to find out if this was widespread or a local phenomenon. 

 

I didn't mean get the tail number visually, just that I'd make note of it when they identified their flights.

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The real subject is radio technique not the CAP...alleging an entire organization founded on Dec 1, 1941 is staffed by marginal flyers is absurd.

 

Is it okay to call pilots names or demean their skill or intelligence in the air (or on the taxiways), no.  Is it okay to bully, belittle, lecture or bash other pilots in the air, no.  The proper radio technique is always to COMMUNICATE in the interest of your own and others safety.

 

Work out regulation issues and personal problems on the ground later.

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The real subject is radio technique not the CAP...alleging an entire organization founded on Dec 1, 1941 is staffed by marginal flyers is absurd.

 

Is it okay to call pilots names or demean their skill or intelligence in the air, no.  Is it okay to bully, belittle, lecture or bash other pilots in the air, no.  The proper radio technique is always to COMMUNICATE.  Work out regulation issues and personal problems on the ground later.

 

I did not belittle anyone, or call anyone names.  I COMMUNICATED that the pilot's stated course of action was stupid, dangerous, and against FARs.  I gave the pilot ample hints to this effect to try to nudge him into making a better choice.  When that didn't work, and time was a critical factor to my safety, I was as blunt as I had to be to get the point across.  

 

Some people just can't be corrected in a reasonable way...but look who I'm saying that to.   :rolleyes:

 

The real subject is NOT radio technique.  I started this thread and that is not the title.  I'm completely comfortable with my radio usage, and what I did in this circumstance.  The question is whether the chronic problems with CAP flights at my local airport are a local issue or a wider problem.  

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I did not belittle anyone, or call anyone names.  I COMMUNICATED that the pilot's stated course of action was stupid, dangerous, and against FARs.  I gave the pilot ample hints to this effect to try to nudge him into making a better choice.  When that didn't work, and time was a critical factor to my safety, I was as blunt as I had to be to get the point across.  

 

Some people just can't be corrected in a reasonable way...but look who I'm saying that to.   :rolleyes:

 

The real subject is NOT radio technique.  I started this thread and that is not the title.  I'm completely comfortable with my radio usage, and what I did in this circumstance.  The question is whether the chronic problems with CAP flights at my local airport are a local issue or a wider problem.  

 

  I agree with Andy. No one has belittled the CAP per se. That said, Andy's comment noted that similar issues seem to occur at his field WITH the local CAP. Seems like perhaps their training, skill levels and attitudes may need to be improved, in house.

  It was good that the plane in Andy's comment did adjust it's approach and join the correct pattern but what might have happened if Andy had said nothing or not seen them?

 

  It's all well and good to be hale and hearty and have a political correctness chat on the ground about 'regulations and personal problems'…thing is when your rear end is sharing the airspace with someone who isn't following the rules, doesn't make radio calls, and basically does their own thing then you do whatever is necessary to save your life and anyone else's.

 

  We need more 'aviators' and less 'plane occupants'.

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No one has belittled the CAP per se.

Well, though the title of this thread is posed as a question, it's rhetorical nature did come across as belittling.

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Gotta agree on the title...  It's kinda like "is xyz a child-molester?".  Unfortunately, the lasting impression comes from the title.

 

BTW... 'have never had a problem with a CAP flight,  but here at KDVT, with hundreds of students right-off-the-boat, learning to speak English and fly, they could be hiding in plain sight.

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Well, though the title of this thread is posed as a question, it's rhetorical nature did come across as belittling.

Disagree.

 

  The thread title asks (others on the forum) if the CAP are a menace (implying from his own experience) and the thread goes on to point out how they are at the poster's field and in his experience. He asks if anyone else has had the same experience. I wouldn't call that rhetorical, it was asked in order to get information from others based on his own actual experience.

 

 That doesn't belittle or disparage the CAP as an organization or its culture. It does disparage the actions of the CAP at the poster's airfield and he criticizes them for being a menace; he asks if anyone else has had  a similar experience.

 

  The CAP is a good organization with usually high standards. In this example it seems that those that run the CAP  in the poster's area, need to get active to ensure that it's members are flying in accordance with the same rules and regulations that all the rest of us fly by. The thread starter reports that they aren't and as such are a menace to other pilots in the area. It's about safety.

 

               What's belittling about that?

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The CAP participated in massive numbers, in a month long search, out of our airport for Steve Fosset.  Most local pilots that I have known give CAP flights a wide berth for reasons along the lines of Andy's story.  When they are conducting a search in a mountainous area the risk goes way up because they are now flying in every canyon and low and near the terrain which makes them less predictable.

 

Like a few others I stayed on the ground.

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