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Teacher Orientation Program Flights

As a Civil Air Patrol Aerospace Education Member (AEM), you may participate in a free orientation flight as one of your membership benefits. This exciting program of instruction, discovery, and flight will allow you to share your flight experience with your students to increase their aerospace interest and knowledge. The Teacher Orientation Program (TOP) Flight missions allow teachers to experience orientation flights in CAP aircraft. Teachers can receive these orientation flights following optional workshops at local area airports.

BUT consider this. . .

It is more fun to fly with a friend! Encourage one of your peers to join CAP with you and you can fly together. The BEST experience is with several members of your school or school system joining together and planning a fun-filled TOP Flights Day!

All participants must be CAP members. Check out this news report on how this program inspires teachers.

TOP Flights Resources

NOTE: CAP pilots flying the TOP Flight missions must be commercially certified and hold a current class 2 medical.

Steps to schedule your Teacher Orientation Program (TOP) Flight:

  1. You must be a member of the Civil Air Patrol. If you are not currently a member, learn more about membership and how to join as an aerospace education member (AEM).

  2. Have your 6-digit CAP identification number handy. This number is shown on your CAP identification card. If you just joined using the online application, your CAP ID number was sent to you in a confirmation email. If you are having trouble finding your CAP ID number, please contact membership services at  or call (877) 227-9142 Ext. 242.

  3. Email Aerospace Education at, and provide your name, CAP ID number, and contact information (including the city and state in which you are located). AE will then find the CAP representative in your area who will arrange a flight in your local area.

  4. When the CAP representative from your local area contacts you, communicate with him or her to schedule a date and time for your flight. Please allow up to 2 weeks for the CAP representative to contact you.

Frequently asked questions:

  • How far in advance should a flight be scheduled?
    It is suggested that you email AE at least one month before you wish to fly if you have a specific time frame in mind for flying.

  • After emailing Aerospace Education, approximately how long does it take for my pilot to contact me?
    AE will copy you on the email we send to the Fly a Teacher coordinator for your state. Once the email has been sent, please allow 7-10 business days for the appropriate CAP representative to contact you to schedule a flight. Our CAP pilots are volunteers, many of whom have full-time jobs. If you do not hear from someone within two weeks, please follow up with Aerospace Education

  • Where will I meet the pilot on the day of the flight?
    You will communicate with your local CAP representative to determine which local airport you will use.

  • What clothes should I wear?
    You should dress informally and comfortably. We suggest you wear blue jeans or slacks. The aircraft have heat for cooler days, but there is no airconditioning. Warm day cooling is by vents.

  • Is there anything specific I should bring for my flight?
    Bring your CAP ID card and driver's license. Don't forget your camera!!!

  • In what type of aircraft will I be flying?
    CAP aircraft are Cessna airplanes. You will be flying in a general aviation aircraft designed to carry four people.  The "roominess" is adequate, but a little less than what is found in a full-sized car.

  • What are the qualifications for CAP pilots?
    CAP pilots are FAA qualified private, commercial, or ATP pilots and generally have several hundred hours of flight experience or more. They are required to meet FAA currency requirements and to pass a CAP flight evaluation every 12 months.

  • How long does the flight last?
    For two teachers riding in the same plane, the flight usually lasts about an hour. Teachers usually get to take turns riding in the front seat of the aircraft, resulting in two separate take-offs and two landings.

  • How can I take this experience back to my classroom?
    Take aerial photos and show them to the students. Discuss what it feels like to fly. Explain the science that you learned behind the "magic" of flying. Consider inviting your pilot to come speak to your class.

  • Whom do I contact if I must cancel my flight?
    Make sure you get the phone number of your pilot when scheduling your flight, and contact him/her immediately if you need to cancel your flight. You may also discuss with him/her a time to reschedule your orientation flight.

  • What happens if the weather is not conducive for flying?
    Your pilot will determine whether or not the flight should be cancelled due to inclement weather. He or she will work with you to reschedule your orientation flight.

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