How to Become a CAP Mission Observer

Are you a CAP member over 18 years of age?

  • You’re not a pilot?  Or, are you a pilot with less than 175 hours pilot-in-command time?
  • Do you like to go flying?
  • Would you like to help with CAP’s Emergency Services mission, particularly by helping to find missing aircraft and ELTs?

If your answers to these questions are yes, you are a good candidate to become a Mission Observer.  It will take some hard work but has several benefits:

  • It will give you the chance to fly with experienced pilots, and if you are a low-time pilot, soak up some of their skills.
  • It will improve your pilotage (navigation by outside visual reference).
  • It will give you the satisfaction of setting a very complex and long-term goal and (eventually) achieving that goal through hard work and perseverance.

How to become a CAP Mission Observer

Below is a step-by-step list of instructions explaining how to become a Mission Observer in Civil Air Patrol.


First Steps

Complete these Tests

  • Take and pass the online test labeled “GES 117 Continuing Education Part 2.” Download and print the certificate.
  • Obtain a CAP BCUT or ACUT qualification. These classes are offered regularly by Wing, Groups and squadrons.  Ask the Squadron Communications Officer when the next class is scheduled.
  • Complete the following FEMA courses online (if you haven’t already done so).

    • Complete FEMA IS-200.b ICS for Single Resources and Initial Action Incidents.
    • Complete FEMA IS-700.a National Incident Management System (NIMS), An Introduction.
    • Enter your completion of these online course using eServices->My Operations Qualifications->Single Person by clicking the check box to the left of ISX00 – IS-X00, entering the date of the exam and clicking submit at the bottom of the page.  Upload the scanned copy of the IS-X00.a using eServices->My Operations Qualifications->101 Card->View/Upload Documents->Emergency Services Tab and select ISX00, and eMail the SQ10 Emergency Services Officer (or provide a hardcopy) for validation.

Study this material

  • Click on Aircrew and Flightline Materials at the NESA Aircrew Emergency Services Curriculum web pages and read/print/review:

    1. Mission Observer Training slides
    2. Aircrew & Flightline Personnel Task Guides
    3. Mission Aircrew Reference Text (MART)
    4. Flight Guide
  • Scan the remaining links to other useful documents you may want to print and include in your kneeboard.

Complete Familiarization and Preparatory Tasks

  • Download and print the Mission Observer Specialty Qualification Training Record (SQTR-MP) from CAP eServices > Utilities > My Operations Qualifications > Emergency Services > SQTR Entry/Worksheet > Print the SQTR Worksheet, and bring this with you to all training and missions to obtain sign-offs. Note that you cannot act as a Mission Observer Trainee until you have completed all of the Pre-requisites and Familiarization and Preparatory training tasks on the SQTR-MO and the Commander has approved the “Commander approval” tasks for completion of both the “Prerequisite” and the “Familiarization and Preparatory” training sections of the SQTR.

Print CAPF 101

  • Once you have completed all of the Pre-requisites and the Familiarization and Preparatory tasks in the SQTR-MO, enter the CAPID, date of completion and mission number (optional) into e-Services. Login to e-Services and click on the My Operations Qualifications/National Reports link on the left side and then select Emergency Services from the ribbon bar at the top and then click YES. Click on the SQTR Entry tab, then for the Achievement field select MO – Mission Observer. Then enter all of the information for each task completed. Then print out a new CAPF 101 Operational Specialty Qualification Card with your trainee Mission Observer rating listed on it (it will say *MO on the card).


  • Wear a Nomex Flight and black boots with the appropriate badges and name tag.  For detailed purchase and wear instructions, click Here.

Complete Two Missions

  • Participate in a minimum of two separate missions (exercises, actual missions or even on proficiency flights) and record your participation on the SQTR. Ask your mentor Mission Pilot/Observer to sign you off on those Advanced training tasks you demonstrate proficiency in. It may take you more than two sorties to earn all the Advanced tasks and become proficient with all of the skills expected and to complete your Mission Observer rating.

Post Second Mission

  • Participate in a minimum of two sorties (exercises, actual mission or even on proficiency flights) and record your participation on the SQTR. Request the Mission Pilot sign you off on those Advanced training tasks you demonstrated proficiency in. Once all Advanced training tasks are completed, go back into e-Services and fill them in online, and notify the SQ10 Emergency Services Officer for Validation. Keep a copy for yourself. Once approved by the Squadron and Group ES Officer online, you should then be approved as a qualified Mission Observer.
  • Print out a new CAPF 101 Operational Specialty Qualification Card with your qualified Mission Observer rating listed on it.


Go Fly!