Division Four
Sector New Orleans, La.


According to AuxInfo, the Auxiliary has a total of 269 aircraft. Three districts, the 7th with 47, 1SR with 42, and 8CR with 33 aircraft, (that's 122 aircraft in just the three districts) account for 45.4%  of the entire aux air fleet.

Division 4 Aviation is part of the AUX Air squadron that is based out of NAS-JRB New Orleans in Belle Chasse, LA, with planes spread throughout the Gulf Coast.





(Qualification in the Air Program is progressive)


A "Candidate" must be recommend by a "mentor" (First Pilot or Aircraft Commander).

1st Level -- Qualify as an "Air Observer":

  • Be a BQ or AUXOP member
  • Successfully pass the core elements of an approved boating course.
  • Score 90% on the "Observer Exam"  (open book)
  • Prior to first flight as an "Observer Trainee", demonstrate ability to swim 50 yards (may wear an inflatable PFD).
  • Under Orders, participate as an "Observer Trainee" in missions totaling 10 hours, and successfully complete all items on the provided "Observer Check List". (Each "After Action Rpt." should include all observer tasks completed on that mission)

2nd Level - "Co-pilot":

  • Have QUALIFIED and flown under orders, at least two missions as an "Observer"
  • Score 90% on the "Pilots Exam"  (open book)
  • Hold a valid "Pilots Certificate", private or higher
  • Hold a current "Medical Certificate", 3rd class or higher.
  • Have properly logged 200 PIC flight hrs. (100 hrs. in aircraft of the same class)
  • Satisfactorily complete an "Auxiliary Flight Check" with an "Auxiliary Flight Examiner".
  • Annually -- Fly under orders as PIC &/or Co-pilot, 6 missions totaling at least 12 hours.



3rd Level - "First Pilot":

  • Satisfy all requirements for "Co-pilot"
  • Have properly logged 500 PIC flight hrs.
  • Complete a "SAR Procedures Flight Check" with an "Auxiliary Flight Examiner"
  • Annually - Fly under orders as PIC, 6 missions totaling at least 12 hours.

4th Level - "Aircraft Commander":

  • Satisfy all requirements for "First Pilot"
  • Have properly logged 1000 PIC flight hrs.
  • Hold an "FAA Instrument Rating" & "Maintain Instrument Currency"
  • Annually - fly under orders as PIC, 6 missions totaling at least 12 hours.



  • Emergency egress training - may include the use of "swet" device
  • Water survival training - includes successfully boarding a raft
  • Attendance at the annual required "air operations workshop".


  • Must annually fly, and properly log 24 hours as PIC (these are "total logged hrs" & may include, but are not limited to cg aux hours)
  • Maintain night & passenger currency.
  • Flight examiners will verify all applicable "logbook entries" annually


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     Lets's face it: NASA has a website, including all the cool stuff about it's astronaut program, and what a great organization it is to work or volunteer for. But that doesn't mean you can click on the "join here" here button, fill out the forms, and be on the next scheduled shuttle flight now does it? The Auxiliary's aviation program is similar to becoming an astronaut. Yeah, it can be done. Both, with perseverance, can be done. But guaranteed? Astronautics or AUXAIR? Not a chance. So an enumeration of hurdles is in order:

A medical screening form must be completed by a physician -- or obtaining at least a Class III FAA medical certificate. If one's limitations prevent either, one will go no further in the process.

     A syllabus of training must be successfully completed for the observer designation along with completion of 10 mission flight hours as a trainee. Attendance is required at the annual aviation safety workshop, emergency egress training, water survival, and completion of 75-yard swim. A sign-off by the trainer/pilot or examiner is required for the designation -- no sign off -- no designation. The ability to successfully egress from the rear seat of the aircraft with little to no assistance is a must. Physical size -- as well as weight plays a significant factor. Designation as an observer does not grant the wearing of the aircrew wings device.

     A second, more extensive syllabus of training must be completed for aircrew -- as well as completion of an additional 5 mission flight hours (or more if needed) as an aircrew trainee. The Exam B (pilot) exam must be successfully completed. Completion of the Crew Resource Management and Spatial Disorientation training (AUX17/18) held at NAS Pensacola, FL (offered only a few times each year with limited slots) is now required for Aircrew Designation (at least in D8CR). Once again, a sign-off by the trainer/pilot or examiner is required.

     Now, the real kicker: An available open "trainee" seat on the aircraft would be needed for the 10 hours initial observer trainee time. Since only three usable seats exist on a typical air facility -- one of which is occupied by the pilot, one by designated aircrew/observer, and one many times filled by active duty Coast Guard personnel -- the frequency of a "trainee" seat being available is somewhat limited. Gaining all the hours and experience to become designated even as a basic observer may take many months.

     Top it off with the pilot/facility owner being the person scheduling the open seats -- should the prospect not be a "good fit" due to aptitude, ability, or attitude -- and the trainee will have a difficult time obtaining an open slot on the aircraft. And no, the pilot can not be "forced" to take any particular person on a mission. The pilot's "ace in the hole" is safety of flight and the successful completion of the mission. Should someone not be a "good fit", they'll not fly - period. And the air station/order issuing authority and DIRAUX will stand behind the pilot on that decision.

     The purpose of the observer or aircrew on an AUXAIR mission is to reduce the workload on the pilot and scan their designated sector. No one gets a "free ride" or a sight-seeing flight. Certainly, if one has difficulty interpreting printed items such as text, charts, and figures on electronic displays -- it could serve to add to the workload of the pilot rather than reduce it, thus causing potential problems at a critical time.

     Finally, if the AUXAIR facilities in a particular area have a full compliment of trained observers and aircrew, there may not be a need to accept additional trainees into the program. Applicants may be "wait listed". This is due to the proficiency requirements for all the positions. If more personnel exist than the number of flight missions that can be supported, proficiency will suffer and some may not maintain currency requirements. So, there is no guaranteed availability in obtaining AUXAIR training. Not to say that there is a conspiracy or good ol' boy club in AUXAIR -- but it's just a fact...not everyone will be accepted.

     Although it is not intended for this lengthy article to serve as discouragement for anyone wishing to pursue the AUXAIR program -- I do, however, want to be clear that more is involved than someone "just deciding that they're going for it". It should also be noted that the TBO requirement has hit the AUXAIR fleet hard, causing many slots to open for new planes, new pilots, and aircrew to serve. Those looking to break into AUXAIR could not pick a better time.

     The only point I would add is that a medical is not required at the Air Observer level. A Class 3 FAA Medical or the ANSC 7042 Air Crew Medical Screening is required at the Air Crew level. (That is the National requirement.) The Air Crew medical does have a hearing test associated with it.

     "Your mileage and district may vary".

      Don?t forget you will eventually have to have the DO-?Direct Operations? Personnel Security Investigation (PSI) instead of just the OS-Operational Support? PSI, though you may train while awaiting results.

     As for the medical screen -- Yes, that may be the true letter of requirement. An observer may choose not spend the funds to obtain a medical until they decide to go forward for aircrew. However, if there is an underlying reason why they would not be able to PASS a medical screen -- observer or aircrew, they'll not be climbing in most aircraft. Most observer trainees desire to progress to aircrew (after all -- that is when they earn the wings -- what they're after, right?). Therefore, they might as well obtain the screening at the beginning. Again, one's ability to egress a partially submerged aircraft while wearing full flight gear, with no assistance, following a forced water landing is a must. If an auxiliarist would not be able to pass the medical screen, why would they want to place themselves -- and possibly their fellow crew -- at risk?

     Since the observer or trainee is many times in the rear seat, it is all the more important. As pilot in command and facility owner, (s)he will make the final determination of one's suitability to fly as part of a mission crew. Anyone wishing to fight a battle over it will be wasting their time and efforts. I might add that some place a maximum weight limit on their observers and aircrew. There is no regulation addressing that subject -- but the ?policy" has not been questioned due to all aircraft having a maximum useful load -- and the PIC being solely responsible for weight & balance prior to flight.




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