The steps necessary to become a Coast Guard Auxiliary pilot or observer

by Malcolm Dickinson, 4/15/98


Note: this list is unofficial and only reflects my (possibly incomplete) understanding of the process.  However, it should be a good guide to get you started.  If you find that any information here is inaccurate, please call me so that I may update this for next year.


1.     Join a flotilla.  To do this you will need to study for and pass your BQ test.

2.     Study for and pass your Air Operations test.  When you take the test you must specify whether you want to be a pilot or an observer.

3.     Fill out the two forms to become a pilot, and mail them, along with copies of your pilot documentation, to the ADSO-AVQ, whose address is given below.

4.     Take an aviation swim test given by the Coast Guard Auxiliary.  This test will involve the use of Coast Guard inflatable life vests as well as getting into a Coast Guard life raft.  This test is given each year at the District 1SR annual meeting in March.

5.     Attend water egress training when it is offered.

6.     Attend classroom SAR training.  This will cover patrol procedures, patrol areas, communications, and how to fill out patrol orders and mission reports.

7.     Obtain a flying uniform (blue jumpsuit or sage green Air Force flight suit).  Sew on 1SR breast patch, U.S. Flag shoulder patch, and leather wings nametag.  (Used flight suits are available for $25 - $50.)

8.     Take one flight in each of our three patrol areas as an observer.

9.     After logging 10 hours as an observer and/or co-pilot, you can become a pilot by taking a SAR checkride with one of the District 1SR check pilots.  Call the ADSO-AVO for more information.


If you are an airplane owner and want to be able to use your airplane:

1.     If you co-own or share an airplane, you’ll need a signed agreement by your partner(s) allowing you to use the airplane on Coast Guard business.

2.     If your airplane is owned by a corporation, you will need to include a copy of the corporate resolution allowing you to use the airplane on Coast Guard business.

3.     If you don’t have shoulder harnesses installed in the front seats, you’ll need to have them installed.  Keep an extra copy of the FAA Form 337 to submit with your aircraft paperwork.

4.     Along with the materials mentioned in step 3 above, also submit those listed under “Aircraft.”

5.     The airplane must have an external antenna that can be connected to a handheld marine band radio.  For most planes this means purchasing an extra external antenna and mounting it underneath the wing, then running a cable into the back seat area so the observer can attach it to the radio.  Another option is installing a King adaptor in the panel which allows you to plug the handheld right into the panel. When you plug it in, it automatically disconnects your #2 comm radio and uses its antenna.  It’s a neat mod and doesn’t slow you down like an extra antenna would.  Either way, the cable should terminate with a BX jack so that it will fit onto the radio.

6. The following will need to be mailed to the ADSO-AVQ:

A. Forms

Coast Guard form 2736B

First District SR form 1DAB98-1A


B. Pilot materials

Copy of pilot certificate

Copy of medical certificate

Copies of the last 2 pages of the pilot’s log book, showing total time and PIC time

Copy of the log book page showing most recent BFR

Photo of pilot (it is not necessary for the pilot to be in uniform)


C. Aircraft materials

Copy of airworthiness certificate

Copy of registration certificate

Copy of airframe and engine log book pages showing the most recent annual inspection

Copy of insurance policy

Photo of aircraft

Corporate resolution (if the airplane is owned by a corporation)

Shareholders resolution (if airplane is co-owned or part of a share or club) giving permission to the member to use the aircraft as a Coast Guard

FAA Form 337 for external antenna, if not already installed

FAA Form 337 for shoulder harnesses, if not already installed


District Aviation Staff in D1SR:

Frank Tangel, ADSO-AVO, H: 201-825-8339

Peter Lombardo, ADSO-AVQ, H: 516-242-1409, W: 516-902-4929

Tom McGloin, ADSO-AVM, H: 718-987-5605

Bob Kingsley, ADSO-AVT, H: 718-987-5862, W: 718-667-1800,