Questions - Parents
How much does it cost?
Most RAFAC activities are centrally funded through the RAF which helps to keep costs down. Cadets may be required to pay towards some activities, for example an annual camp might be £40 - a small amount considering what's involved. Squadrons do charge subscriptions of around approximately £12 per month to cover running costs, transport etc.
At what age can my son or daughter join?
Cadets can join from 13, or 12 if they are currently in year 8 at school, however for some activities such as flying, cadets must be 13¼. For other activities like scholarships, cadets must be 19.
Are they expected to join the military?
No. Although the Air Cadets receives funding from the RAF, we are not a recruiting organisation. While some cadets do choose to join the military, the training provided by the RAFAC is held in high regard by civilian employers too and there is no pressure on cadets to consider a Service career.
How much time will they have to give each week?
Typically cadets will attend the squadron twice a week for up to 2½ hours a night. Outside of these evenings, there are many activities to do at weekends and in the school holidays. The amount of time a cadet wants to commit to is up to them, but there is an expectation that they attend regularly to keep up to date with training.
Can they learn to fly?
Yes, all cadets will have the opportunity to fly at one of the Air Experience Flights provided by the Volunteer Gliding Squadrons located around the country. Additionally, cadets can apply for scholarships up to Private Pilots Licence level!
Who leads and supervises cadets?
Most squadrons are commanded by an RAFAC Officer who is assisted by Adult Non-Commissioned Officers and Civilian Instructors. All staff undergo vetting by the MOD, which include Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks every 5 years, to work with young people and are fully qualified in the activities they're involved in.
Why do cadets wear uniforms?
The Air Cadets is a military youth organisation affiliated to the Royal Air Force and therefore cadets wear the same uniform as regular RAF personnel.
What uniforms do cadets wear?
Cadets wear blue uniform for classroom activities and green uniform for field exercises.
How do cadets obtain uniforms?
Most uniform is issued by the squadron for the length of time they are a member. Cadets may have to purchase items such as shoes or boots and green kit, but these can be purchased cheaply from military surplus stores. The key bit is to check with the squadron first to see if they can supply it before buying. If they can't please check with the Squadron, what exactly what you need to buy first.
Where can I find information about security issues?
You can view the latest security FAQs here.
Can I be involved in the RAFAC?
Absolutely! The Air Cadets is very encouraging of parents who can help informally, and we're always looking for volunteers. You can join as a uniformed member of staff, a non-uniformed Civilian Instructor or even as a member of a Civilian committee.