Welcome to USCGA District 7 Aviation.
AUXAIR is an Auxiliary operational program. AUXAIR aviators have varied aviation backgrounds and many have prior military experience. AUXAIR aviators volunteer their aircraft for use as facilities, just as surface operators volunteer their boats. All Auxiliary aircraft meet strict U.S. Coast Guard and Federal Aviation Administration requirements. These aircraft are inspected annually per the Commandants instruction.
AUXAIR participates in many Coast Guard missions including Search and Rescue, Port Over Flights, Waterways and Coastal Security, Marine Safety, Pollution Response, and Aids to Navigation. It also conducts Logistic Transport Missions. AUXAIR is an integral part of the Coast Guard search and rescue team and its homeland security forces.
As with surface operators, air facility operators are issued patrol orders. Orders are issued based on the needs of the Coast Guard and the availability of crews and facilities. Coast Guard Air Stations are the Order Issuing Authority for AUXAIR. This alignment of Auxiliary aviation assets in a district with an Air Station is known as the “squadron concept”, because aviation orders and direction flow directly between the Air Station and the district aviation staff.
Auxiliarists involved in AUXAIR take Auxiliary aviation training, completing the syllabus for their level of qualification. After having their knowledge and skills approved by an Auxiliary Flight Examiner, they may be certified by the District Director of Auxiliary (DIRAUX) as Pilots, Observers or Air Crew in the AUXAIR Program.
Q: Why Join US Coast Guard Auxiliary Aviation?
A: AUXAIR offers several very worthwhile ways to be part of a valuable team. One can serve as Observer, Air Crew, Copilot, First Pilot or Aircraft Commander and participate in a number of mission areas including: Logistics, Aids to Navigation, Marine Safety and Pollution, Port Over Flights, Waterways and Coastal Security, and Search and Rescue.
Q: So how do I get started in Auxiliary Aviation?
A: First one joins the Coast Guard Auxiliary and becomes a "Basically Qualified" (BQ) member. This involves getting some education about the Auxiliary, its structure and organization. As the Auxiliary predominantly deals with boating safety, some background knowledge about boating is a necessity. New Auxiliarists therefore take an Auxiliary boating safety course, another qualified course or self-study, and then pass an examination. Once Basically Qualified, they may undertake study in any of several Auxiliary programs including Auxiliary aviation (AUXAIR). Members involved in AUXAIR must earn their qualifications through advanced training. This training is designed to develop observers and pilots for Auxiliary service.
Q: I’m just a private pilot. Can I be an Auxiliary pilot?
A: Of Course!! Persons who hold FAA Pilot Certificates may participate in AUXAIR either as Auxiliary pilots (depending on certificates and experience) or as Observers. The Auxiliary does not offer flight training; rather, it builds on what certificated pilots already have learned. Pilot applicants learn about search and rescue (SAR) techniques and patterns, Coast Guard communications, and Coast Guard flight safety rules and procedures. Pilot candidates must successfully pass a written open book test and take water survival training, as well as pass a SAR procedures check ride. Pilots with 200 hours or more logged as Pilot in Command (PIC) may be eligible for Auxiliary aviator designation as Copilot. Pilots with 500 or more hours as PIC may become First Pilots, and aviators with at least 1000 hours PIC and an Instrument Rating may be designated as Aircraft Commanders. Pilots with fewer than 200 hours PIC may become Observers or qualify as Air Crew. Auxiliary flight crews have an important job to do and are held to high standards of training and safety.
Q: I'm not a pilot. Can I help Auxiliary Aviation?
A: Non-Pilots may participate in AUXAIR as Observers or Air Crew. Observers are generally assigned to handle the communications between the aircraft and Coast Guard units, keep records in the air, and are the active searchers on SAR and other missions. Observers receive aviation orientation and training in observation techniques, communications, search techniques and patterns, and safety and survival skills. Observer candidates must successfully pass a written open book test and take water survival training. Experienced Observers and pilots with less than 200 hours PIC may be eligible to earn the Air Crew rating. The training for this rating rounds out the Observer's knowledge with more instruction on aviation and aircraft operations, Crew Resource Management, aviation communications and navigation procedures. The water survival training required of all Auxiliary aviators and Observers includes a 75 yard swim (with PFD on), training in life raft usage and emergency aircraft egress.
Q: Can I use my plane in Auxiliary Aviation?
A: Pilots may offer their airplanes for use as Coast Guard Auxiliary operational facilities. Planes are inspected to verify that they meet requirements and that all paperwork is in order. A marine radio must be available for use in the plane and an external antenna must be installed. All aircraft used in AUXAIR operations must be approved facilities. The Coast Guard does not make any assurances that aircraft will be accepted as operational facilities nor does it suggest that all qualified Auxiliary members will be accepted into the aviation program as pilots. Fiscal, operational and geographical needs of the U.S. Coast Guard are the controlling factors in the AUXAIR program. Auxiliarists using their own aircraft on ordered missions may be reimbursed for fuel and maintenance expenses. They are also covered by Federal insurance and liability protection in the performance of their official Auxiliary duties. Qualified Auxiliary pilots, assigned to duty, are considered to be Coast Guard pilots, as are Auxiliary aircraft deemed to be Coast Guard aircraft when on assigned duty.