Coast Guard Auxiliary Air Program in Hawaii

The Hawaii AUXAIR Squadron next to a  C130 aircraft.

Interested in Aviation? Own a private airplane, or want to someday? Want to serve your country and your community, by augmenting the United States Coast Guard’s aviation program? If so, the United States Coast Guard Auxiliary Air Program in Hawaii, known as AUXAIR, could be a meaningful and challenging way to improve your skills, gain cockpit proficiency, or share your love of aviation with fellow volunteers.

AUXAIR is part of the U. S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, which is part of Team Coast Guard, along with the Active Duty, Reserve, and Civilian members. The Coast Guard is the smallest of the 5 branches of the U.S. military, and the only one that supplements its forces directly with civilian volunteers.

The Mission of AUXAIR

The Auxiliary’s primary focus is on Recreational Boating Safety, but members of the Coast Guard Air Auxiliary in Hawaii also augment many other Coast Guard missions on land, sea, and air.

Some of the specific ways that AUXAIR assists are:

  • Flying Search and Rescue missions along with Active Duty aircraft
  • Doing Marine Environmental patrols looking for polluters and reporting them
  • Inspecting port infrastructure and marine navigation facilities from the air
  • Pre and post disaster assessment
  • Aerial reconnaissance of a variety of land and sea features

We’re out there acting as the eyes and ears of the Coast Guard in rapidly assessing situations in and around the water.

AUXAIR pilot over Oahu
A young woman observer on a mission

We also help other Federal organizations by transporting endangered species, enforcing fishing regulations, and protecting marine sanctuaries such as the Hawaii Humpback Whale Sanctuary.

A search patten
An actual search pattern from an AUXAIR patrol.

Is the Coast Guard Auxiliary Air Program right for you?

AUXAIR has a variety of roles for volunteers to play. 

  • If you own your own aircraft, the Coast Guard will reimburse your cost of fuel, and provide a contribution towards your maintenance for each hour you fly.
  • If you’re a pilot, but don’t own your own aircraft, we offer the opportunity for you to be part of the crew, flying missions with other member pilots.
  • Even if you have no aviation experience, you can join our team as an Air Observer, giving you the opportunity to fly along with us and gain experience in aircraft operations.

Requirements

All AUXAIR participants start by joining the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, which is open to virtually any U.S. citizen over 18. After completing a series of online training programs, your focus can shift to air operations. There are 2 aviation specific exams, one for everyone and one for pilots, that must also be taken online open book. 

Pilot candidates require a current FAA medical. Observers need only a form filled out by their doctor attesting to their good health. Everyone must also complete swim test of 75 yards and emergency egress training, annually.

Observer and pilot training is largely conducted in the air, and consists of items unique to our search and observation missions; we don’t do primary flight training, although some of our pilots are FAA flight instructors.

We also require a security background check of all AUXAIR members, similar to other military services. You’ll be issued Flight Suits and personal protective gear suitable for each mission. 

If you’re interested in learning more about or joining the U. S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, and the AUXAIR program, you can start by visiting http://cgaux.org and contacting a member of the aviation program near you. We hope you’ll join us!

An injured bird AUXAIR transported to the Hawaii Wildlife Center.
An actual mapping of a search pattern.
Missions included checking the coastlines and harbors.

Posted in GACH.

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