What comes to mind when you think of the Civil Air Patrol? Maybe you picture a single-engine plane flying close to shore as it broadcasts a tsunami warning via an air-to-ground speaker system. Or maybe it’s an aircrew conducting a search and rescue mission in the aftermath of a hurricane.
If that’s what flashes in your mind’s eye, you’re definitely on the right track. But you might be surprised to learn it’s only part of what the Civil Air Patrol does.
As the official auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force, the Civil Air Patrol is a congressionally chartered 501(c)3 nonprofit with three primary missions: emergency services, cadet programs for youth, and aerospace education for youth. It is composed of more than 60,000 aviation-minded volunteer members nationwide and has the largest fleet of general aviation aircraft in the world. (Hawaii currently has 10 planes statewide.)
Lt. Darryl Ng of Darts Property Management is the commander of the Maui County Composite Squadron of the Civil Air Patrol. (A composite squadron is one that is made up of cadets and adults, known as senior members.) Ng joined the Civil Air Patrol in 2019 and stepped into the role of commander not long after; he also serves as the aerospace education officer.
Ng and his fellow volunteer members are always standing by to serve and support the community, both in the air and on the ground. Among other things, over the past year, the squadron assisted in the delivery of personal protective equipment and medical supplies to Maui at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, conducted a hurricane warning flight, and completed an aerial damage assessment of the flooding in Haiku earlier this year.
When he’s not on the tarmac or up in the clouds, Ng is teaching kids the science of flight and stoking interest in high-flying careers as the squadron’s aerospace education officer.
Through its award-winning Aerospace/STEM/Cyber program, the Civil Air Patrol opens students’ eyes to the possibilities of a career in an aviation, aerospace, or STEM-related field. On Maui, Ng says the squadron is working with individual schools to bring the curriculum into classrooms to keep America at the forefront of aerospace, STEM, and cyber.
And then there’s the squadron’s cadet program, which currently has close to 40 cadet members ages 12 to 18. Ng says he’s witnessed the transformative impact of the program, which not only focuses on aerospace, but also leadership, physical fitness, and character development.
If all of this sounds exciting or fulfilling (and it assuredly is), Ng encourages you to consider becoming a volunteer member of the Maui County Composite Squadron of the Civil Air Patrol. No interest in flying? No problem. You don’t have to be a pilot to join. Training and positions are available in all areas of emergency services, including, but not limited to, communications, aerial photography, aerial spotters, and ground search and rescue teams. And if you’re a teacher, you can become an aerospace education member of the Civil Air Patrol. Perks include free STEM kits, curriculum materials, and a teacher orientation flight aboard a Civil Air Patrol plane.
To learn more about the Maui County Composite Squadron of the Civil Air Patrol or to inquire about memberships, visit maui.cap.gov or www.facebook.com/CAPMauiNoKaOi/.
The Maui News – May 10, 2021