Auxiliary Aviators “get wet” at USCG Academy

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

New London, CT – Swim Test Instructor and Life Guard Annette Leder of Tarrytown, NY demonstrates the proper manual inflation technique for a USCG Auxiliary aviators life jacket at the USCG Academy during aviator egress training. (USCG Auxiliary photo)

Auxiliary Aviation (AUXAIR) is a USCG 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 USCG Commandants instruction.

New London, CT – Auxiliarist Annettte Leder of Tarrytown, NY provides emergency swim test instruction to an AUXAIR aviator during the annual swim test training at the USCG Academy.  (USCG Auxiliary photo)

AUXAIR participates in many USCG missions including:

  •   Search and Rescue,
  •   Ports,
  •   Waterways and Coastal Security,
  •   Marine Safety,
  •   Pollution Response,
  •   Aids to Navigation, and
  •   Ice Reconnaissance.

It also conducts Logistic Transport Missions. AUXAIR is an integral part of the Coast Guard search and rescue team and its homeland security forces.

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.

There are three qualification levels for pilots, similar to active duty Coast Guard:

  • Aircraft Commander,
  • First Pilot, and
  • Co-Pilot.

New London, CT – AUXAIR aviators train on emergency life raft procedures in the pool at the USCG Academy.  (USCG Auxiliary photo)

Minimum requirements for the different levels of pilots are measured by Pilot in Command time and are:

  • 1000 hours with an Instrument Flight Rules (IFR) rating for Aircraft Commander,
  • 500 hours for First Pilot, and
  • 200 hours for Co-Pilots.

These levels of pilot qualification are also linked to the types of missions they are authorized to fly.  All pilots must pass recurrent flight checks and undergo annual safety training.

AUXAIR does not offer flight training for pilots. 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, take water survival training and pass a check flight. Auxiliary aviators are held to high standards of training and safety. Auxiliary pilots are Pilots-in-Command of each mission.


Tags: , , , , , , ,



  1. Mike Domino says:

    Are there any upcoming auxiliary air swim training scheduled for the Los Angeles area?

Leave a Comment

We welcome your comments on postings at all Coast Guard sites/journals. These are sponsored by the U.S. Coast Guard to provide a forum to talk about our work providing maritime safety, security and stewardship for the American people to secure the homeland, save lives and property, protect the environment, and promote economic prosperity.

The information provided is for public information only and is not a distress communication channel. People in an emergency and in need of Coast Guard assistance should use VHF-FM Channel 16 (156.8 MHz), dial 911, or call their nearest Coast Guard unit.

All comments submitted are moderated. The Coast Guard retains the discretion to determine which comments it will post and which it will not. We expect all contributors to be respectful. We will not post comments that contain personal attacks of any kind; refer to Coast Guard or other employees by name; contain offensive terms that target specific ethnic or racial groups, or contain vulgar language. We will also not post comments that are spam, are clearly off topic, or that promote services or products.

The U.S. Coast Guard disclaims any liability for any loss or damage resulting from any comments posted on this page. This forum may not be used for the submission of any claim, demand, informal or formal complaint, or any other form of legal and/or administrative notice or process, or for the exhaustion of any legal and/or administrative remedy.

If you have specific questions regarding a U.S. Coast Guard program that involves details you do not wish to share publicly please contact the program point of contact listed at

The U.S. Coast Guard will not collect or retain Personally Identifiable Information unless you voluntarily provide it to us. To view the U.S. Coast Guards Privacy Policy, please visit:

Please note: Anonymous comments have been disabled for this journal. It is preferred that you use your real name when posting a comment. WE WILL POST THE NAME YOU ENTER WHEN YOU SUBMIT YOUR COMMENT. Also, you are welcome to use Open ID or other user technologies that may be available.