Becoming an Air Cadet is a fantastic way to learn new skills and enjoy experiences that wouldn’t be possible with any ordinary youth organisation – and flying is just one example!
Flying is one of the most exciting activities offered by the Air Training Corps. Cadets are regularly given the opportunity to fly in Vigilant motor gliders and Tutor light stunt planes, receiving tuition in how to operate the aircraft and getting to take the controls themselves. With work and effort it is even possible for an Air Cadet to fly a glider solo before they are old enough to pass their driving test! Occasionally there is the chance for a flight in something even more exciting, like a Royal Air Force Chinook helicopter, Hawk fast jet, a Hercules transport aircraft and much, much more.
Target shooting is another popular activity with the Air Cadets, with everyone getting the opportunity to practice their skills on the .22 calibre No.8 rifle as well as larger bore rifles such as the L98A2 (the cadet equivalent of the L85A2 rifle used by today’s regular armed forces). Cadets can also earn different marksmanship badges by displaying good target shooting skills.
Summer camps are another unique activity to the Air Training Corps and offer a great way to gain new skills and experiences whilst making new friends from around the country. Cadets can spend a week at an RAF station where they have the chance to experience the full range of life and work on it, as well as take part in sports, visits and adventure training – white water rafting, mountain biking and sailing, for example – and much more. In a recent camp to RAF Boulmer in Northumberland, several cadets from St Albans got a flight in one of the RAF’s Search and Rescue Sea King helicopters.
On a typical twice-weekly parade evening, cadets start with drill practice followed by “first parade” where uniform is inspected. The rest of the evening is made up of various activities which change throughout the year, such as playing sport, practicing for upcoming competitions, working through training qualifications, or military field craft training. The evening closes with “final parade” where the Commanding Officer briefs the whole Squadron on upcoming events and opportunities.
For more information, check out the official national Air Training Corps website here