The Air Cadet Organisation offers a wide range of exciting and challenging activities that are available to every cadet as they progress through the ranks and classification system. More information on our core activities can be found below, but this is just the tip of the iceberg! Be warned weekends will never be the same again!
Joining the Air Cadets opens up lots of opportunities, including the chance to fly!
It’s our aim to get you airborne as often as possible, whether it is Air Experience Flying in a Grob Tutor or a Gliding in a Vigilant or even on-board RAF aircraft such as our Typhoon fast-jet or a Chinook helicopter!
Imagine floating along thermal air currents with just the sound of wind rushing past your aircraft. You're over 2,000ft in the air and you have the controls of an 8 metre long aircraft in your hands. It's a buzz, and one of th
e biggest reasons our cadets join up. The aircraft we use allow your first steps to flying to be totally exhilarating. They're an integral part of the cadet experience, designed to get you trained, confident and ready for solo flying. If you have a talent for flying we'll spot it.
Air Experience Flight (AEF) instructors are all current or former RAF service pilots who volunteer to pass on their knowledge and enthusiasm for flying to you. Flying takes place at one of 12 AEFs around the country, mainly at RAF stations. You're shown how the aircraft flies and given the chance to control it and experience aerobatics. And the views from 3,000ft are stunning.
Aside from great experiences and activities that cadets learn, we offer real qualifications that will set you apart from the crowd when you head to university or begin your chosen career.
Aside from the Duke of Edinburgh's Award, we offer the following:
Leadership Training where you can really prove your worth as a leader - a skill that will really build your confidence and ability to deal with different kinds of people. If you can handle it you could get to the Junior Leaders course - it's gruelling but what you get out of it will be invaluable to you for the rest of your life.
BTECs are always popular and a widely recognised qualification - more than 4000 cadets have registered for the First Diploma in Public Services and over 600 for the First Diploma in Aviation Studies.
First Aid is an essential skill you will be taught. Training in this area is recognised by St John Ambulance and if needed, your skills could possibly mean the difference between life and death.
Adventurous Training is an essential part of the Air Cadet's training syllabus and the place where team effort really matters - you'll build new friendships, and learn to rely on the other people you're with to get the job done. It also lets you show off your leadership qualities.
Remember, whatever your personal tastes, nothing is compulsory. There is a wide range of adventurous activities to get stuck into, so if climbing isn't for you perhaps canoeing is. Sometimes what's on offer depends on the squadron you attend, but everything you do is supervised by qualified trainers who will ensure you get the most out of it.
Between local activities and visits to camps, you will have the chance to experience kayaking, hill walking, camping, caving, mountain biking, offshore sailing and winter sports to name just a few.
Marksmanship goes a long way back in the history of Air Cadets and is one of our most popular activities. Think you can concentrate on distant targets and fire with consistent accuracy? It's not easy. It requires focus, concentration and a very steady hand.
We’ll teach you to handle a variety of weapons safely. Basic firing is always done lying on your stomach (the prone position) at static targets. Progress through the syllabus and you'll experience different types of weapons, firing positions and could even take part in shooting competitions if you really prove your skills.
Ranges come in different shapes and sizes but all are in controlled conditions with full training on any weapon that you handle - safety is our top priority. To start with you'll be firing at targets that are fairly close - around 25m away. As you advance through weapons and your skill builds, you will fire at targets 100m or more away.
You may of heard of the DofE (Duke of Edinburgh) Award, but don't know what it is or whether it's for you. Well, it's for everyone who likes a challenge. Their mission is simple - 'to inspire, guide and support young people in their self-development, and recognise their achievements'.
To put it another way, they help you succeed. With the same sense of adventure that drew you to the Air Cadets in the first place, the DofE takes you through a programme of activities that will leave you a more confident, motivated and capable person.
We're proud to be the DofE Award's largest participant.
There are three levels which, when successfully completed, lead to a Bronze, Silver or Gold DofE Award. And it's never too late to get in on the action - depending on your age you may be able to jump straight in at Silver or Gold level!
There are four sections at Bronze and Silver level and five at Gold:
- Volunteering - Get involved providing services to individuals or the community and make a difference to other people's lives
- Physical - Get active and improve your skills and fitness in sport, dance or other physical activities - it's your choice
- Skills - Find new interests and get new talents (or perfect existing ones), with increased practical and social skills
- Expedition - Get outdoors and plan, train for and complete an adventurous journey in the UK or abroad - an unbeatable experience
- Residential - Only at Gold level. Getting to the Gold level is a big deal and this last stage could see you going to another country, sharing tasks and activities with people you've never met. It'll test your mettle, and set you up for what life throws at you in the future
For more information visit http://www.dofe.org/
Feeling competitive? As an air cadet you can take part in seven main sports at different levels. Whatever you do it'll help improve your physical fitness levels and your team skills. If you're good enough at your favourite sport we'll notice, and can help you take it to the next level.
Athletics, cross country, football, rugby, hockey, netball and swimming are the sports you could find yourself participating in.
If you're passionate about your sport, talented at it and get noticed, then competing for your wing, region and even the Corps is open to you.
The Air Training Corps is not limited to just these seven sports. Each local squadron runs a variety of sporting activities from five a side football through to volley ball and rock climbing.
Mixing work and play is at the heart of the Air Cadets. Getting stuck into sport is fun, and you'll build friendships and learn how to use your strengths to best effect in a team. And it doesn't stop at the sports we've mentioned.
Do you have a flair for music? It plays a popular role in the life of cadets and playing as part of your squadron band is highly rewarding - competition for places is usually strong. Our aims are to introduce you to music within the cadets, provide you with musical instruction and the opportunity to play in our bands.
Getting involved in music is a great way of socialising and of promoting the ACO wherever you play to the public. If you show real talent you could take your playing to the next level in wing or regional bands or even the National Marching Band which is being formed over the next year. Ultimately, you could join the National Concert Band - where our best players perform at public events often at some very prestigious locations, including Buckingham Palace!
Every year Music Camps are arranged at all levels of the organisation. The first Air Cadet National Concert Band camp of the year usually takes place during the school half-term holiday in February. The Camp is arranged by Air Cadets HQ and takes the form of a week’s work experience with one of the two professional RAF Bands based at RAF Cranwell in Lincolnshire: the Band of the RAF College or the Band of the RAF Regiment. Sharing a stage with the best musicians in the RAF is a priceless experience! Throughout the remainder of each year further Concert Band camps take place, normally linked to a specific event.
In addition, Marching Band camps take place (again linked to specific events) where our best musicians are given the opportunity of demonstrating their skills to the public. The musical year culminates with a competition to find the best solo performers, ensembles and marching bands in the organisation. Competition is fierce for those wanting to prove that they are the best! You can also do a BTEC in Music and turn your fun and talent into a formal qualification.