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First of all we do have some requirements for you to join us. The first is that you must be at least 12 years of age and in Year 8 at the lower end and 17 at the upper end. You can stay as a cadet until you turn 20 providing you meet certain criteria upon your 18th Birthday. 


The first step is to find your nearest Suqadron. Use the map at the bottom of the page to help you. It might be you live close to more so you have a choice of which one you would like to.


Step No 2 is fairly simple, get in touch with the unit or units you are looking at. The easiest way is to send an email as not all our squadrons have phones. Let them know who you are and that you are interested in joining.


The squadron will get on touch with you or your parents to invite you along to take a look at the unit. They may also give you some consent forms to fill in for an immediate start or add you to the list for the next intake.

Basic Training

When you have started on your unit you will undergo the Cadet Basic Training course to get you started in the organisation. This covers the basics to enable you to learn and understand #whatwedo and why we do it. At the end of the course you will earn the First Class Badge as well as others as part of the Progressive Training Syllabus. The CBT Course includes:


You will get to learn about a number of topics to give you an introduction to the RAF Air Cadets, to ensure you are both safe and eligable to join in all activities.

  • The Air Training Corps

  • The Royal Air Force

  • Map Reading 

  • Airmanship 

  • Initial Expedition Training

  • Basic Radio Communications


Don't think its all classroom based training, its not! There are a number of practical elements to the CBT and Academic sections of the course.

  • Drill & Ceremonial 

  • Heartstart (Basic First Aid Trn)

  • H&S Entry Level Award

  • Squadron Activities


During your CBT you will also be measured for your uniform and be shown how to look after it. You will also be able to take part in a variety of other squadron activities, if you meet the criteria. These might include:

  • Visits

  • Sports

  • Flying (requires elements of CBT to be completed)

  • Squadron and Wing Activities

  • Other PTS Qualifications


What Next?

Once you have attained the First Class Qualification you can progress in the Classification system, Progressive Training Syallabus and also be promoted. Everything we do is designed to develop both you as an individual, whilst growing your knowledge, skills and abilities. There is some academic learning, but its combined with some great activities that will test your abilities both personally and physically at times. Some activities are dependent on age and other qualifications you have gained, but its all on offer. Whatever you get out of the RAF Air Cadets will depend on what you put into it!

Progressive Training

The Progressive Training Syllabus (PTS) is there to grow your knowledge and experience in specialist areas such as Gliding, Shooting, Music, Cyber, First Aid and Leadership. Each element has a different level to aim towards..

Depending on your level of experience, attendance, knowledge and maturity you can also be promoted and given rank, which will increase as you move through cadets. It's not guaranteed though and all promotions have to be earned. Promotions to NCO levels are based not only on achievement but more importantly your ability to be a leader as well as a team member. As a cadet NCO you will need to be able to lead and help develop other cadets and be a role model too!

Promotions to Cadet NCO

As a cadet you could fly in any aircraft that the RAF, Royal Navy or British Army has, that includes aircraft like the Chinook, C17, Voyager and even fast the Hawk T2!

Even if the opportunity doesnt present itself to fly in operational aircraft, you will get the chance to take control of the Grob Tutor, learning the basics of flight and aerobatics, if your stomach is feeling upto it!

If you like flying and have what it takes, you may be eligable for a Flying Scholarship, gaining free flying time towards your Private Pilots Licence or further flying training.


Many of the RAF's Pilots including the Red Arrows started their flying careers with the Air Cadets

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