The UK Civil Air Patrol is a voluntary and charitable organisation aimed principally at providing support to the community and to the environment. UKCAPScotland forms one of 3 UK Regions. It is not an emergency service and its response is dependent upon the availability of crews, aircraft and the effective matching of experience to the required level of assistance; however, in the past aircraft have been fully engaged in vulnerable missing person searches within 25 mins of being called to help.
Any assistance offered is purely humanitarian and for the prime benefit of the community or the environment; if any emergency service or government funded agency directly benefits from the assistance, that outcome is incidental. All flights remain private and under the direction of the UKCAP Board of Trustees.
Local crews with local knowledge can provide valuable assistance in a wide variety of roles as outlined below:
The UKCAP can be called upon by anyone or any agency that is looking for something that is lost and who thinks that airborne search might be useful.
Missing persons, vehicles, equipment, boats, livestock, downed aircraft have all been located from the air by Sky Watch. Aircraft are particularly
useful for searching rivers and river banks, reed beds, moorland, scrubland, railway lines, ravines, sea cliffs, lochs, fields and open undulating
spaces - all of which require a great deal of manpower to search from the ground. Visual air search is usually not appropriate for densely
wooded or urban areas. In addition to saving a great deal of effort and cost, much time can also be saved by aerial search - which is
often a critical factor in the survival of a missing person. Visual aerial search assisted by binoculars sounds rather basic but it is
highly effective and is not reliant on the availability or serviceability state of complex technology!
All aerial photography is carried out by trained observers. This makes the process effective and safe, ensuring
consistently good results. Images can be provided of landscape in a variety of conditions; trees in leaf or not,
tide in or out, ambient light low or from above, etc - with images sized and distributed to the requirements
of the end user. UKCAPScotland specialises in aerial coastal photography for archaeological, coastal
erosion, search and plastic waste detection purposes. All photography is provided free of charge,
without copyright and is usually geo-referenced
The simple ‘eye in the sky’ can be a real life-saver by observing from overhead
and continuously reporting in real time from above many types of situation
including large scale outdoor sporting events (thus providing safety
cover), public gatherings, traffic congestion, forest/hill fires,
major incidents involving the emergency services and
widespread flooding or pollution. Reports can be
made direct to user agency ops control centres
or to our own support vehicles.
  Civil Air Patrol aircraft can relay communications between distant ground stations in
areas of otherwise poor mobile phone or radio cover via air and marine band frequencies.
Assistance sorties can also be supported by CAP Mission Support Vehicles. These are 4x4
forward-operating assets that are capable of providing communications with the aircraft and which
usually deploy close to the operations area so that air crews can liaise directly and easily with personnel on the
ground and can be directed as required.                                                                                                                     
  CAP aircraft and crews can deploy to an airfield near to the point of assistance if necessary. This can markedly cut
down on transit time during ops and often results in a faster dissemination of results.                                                           
  Equipment or personnel can be ferried quickly by CAP aircraft if required.
  UKCAP air or ground assets will only ever become involved with an agency or person as a result of a direct request for assistance. CAP aircraft are complementary to those of the emergency services, normally operate following liaison with the UK Aeronautical Rescue Coordination Centre, are not in
competition with any established air support and will only be deployed when the alternative is no form of air support at all.