As an RAF Air Cadet you will be part of one of the largest youth organisations in the UK. You will have the opportunity to undertake training, activities and experiences that few young people outside such an organisation will ever get the chance to do, and even those that are part of a similar organisation will still miss out on activities unique to us, like flying and gliding!
Check out the main RAF Air Cadet website for a full overview of what you can expect as an Air Cadet!
Every squadron in RAFAC is unique. All of them offer the 'core' activities such as flying, gliding, shooting, annual camps, aviation based studies and personal development training, but each one will also offer a variety of additional activities and opportunities depending on the local facilities, the local community and of course the squadron staff - many of whom are ex-cadets or ex/serving military personnel.
Use the links in the What We Do section above to get a more detailed information on specific activities we offer.
We hold regular recruitment events throughout the year, usually every 3-4 months. These are a form of open evening where prospective new cadets and anyone interested in seeing what RAFAC is all about can come and meet us. Typically, we put on a number of displays to try and give you a feel for what goes in cadet life. Unfortunately we cannot fit a full size Viking glider or Grob Tutor (our usual powered flying aircraft) into the squadron building, so you will just have to look at the photos and watch the videos for now.
Am I eligible?
The RAF Air Cadets has a minimum age requirement of 12yrs and you must be in year 8 or above at school. If you do not meet this minimum but are not far off then you are still welcome to attend one of our recruitment events to learn more and join as soon as you are eligible.
Although cadets can stay on until they are 20yrs old, this is by exception and the normal age-out limit is 18yrs. Due to the initial training period and various eligibility criteria for things like promotions, plus the frequency of which a lot of activities come around (some only once a year) we recommend that 16.5yrs of age is the upper joining limit. If you exceed this then it may still be possible to join so get in touch to discuss the options, or you could join as an Adult Volunteer instead.
Is there a cost?
All Air Training Corps units within RAFAC charge a monthly subscription between £6.00 and £12.00. For 1244 Squadron it is currently £10 per cadet, but it is only payable once you get your uniform and have been enrolled, so you will have time to make sure the Air Cadets is right for you before you spend any money. Many of the 'core activities' such as flying, gliding and shooting are covered by your subscription and therefore at no extra cost to you, however some activities like camps have an additional charge for accommodation, messing (food) and social activities (go-karting, bowling, swimming etc) that cannot be covered by the monthly subscription. The average cost of a five/six day annual camp for example is £60.
There are two uniform schema in the ATC - 'blue' (everyday/formal) and 'green' (fieldcraft/shooting/outdoor). We will issue you with a 'blue' uniform at no extra cost as this is again covered by your subscription, however this is not the case for the 'green' uniform. Where a squadron has surplus stock of 'green' uniform this may be issued free of charge, however if this is not possible then it must be purchased at your own expense (usually from military surplus and it is pretty cheap). In all cases we are not able to issue footwear such as parade shoes or combat boots. These must also be purchased at your own expense, though we often have surplus items that can be borrowed until such time as you can purchase your own. All items of uniform that are issued will need to be returned if/when you leave the organisation.
Our civilian committee may be able to provide financial assistance for uniform and activities to cadets who would otherwise miss out. This is dealt with on a case by case basis, so please speak to us if you have any concerns.
How do I get involved?
The first step to getting involved is to contact us to advise us of your interest. You will then be invited to attend a parade night or recruitment event where we will be able to show you more about what we offer. We generally prefer to have new cadets start at fixed intakes throughout the year (typically every 3-4 months), rather than on an ad-hoc basis. This means we can plan our training programme better to provide basic training to one group rather than say ten cadets individually. Therefore, after visiting the squadron there may be a short wait before you can start, but we promise it will be worth it!
What happens after I join?
When you join there will be an initial period of basic training which is designed to give you some background on the Air Training Corps and aviation/military related subjects such as principles of flight, radio communications and map reading. You will be issued with your uniform and shown how to take care of it, as well as learning basic foot drill to enable you to parade with the rest of our cadets and become part of the team. All this leads up to your official enrollment into the squadron, after which you become eligible to take part in the full range of activities on offer. This process usually takes 3-4 months, but there will be other activities you can get involved with during this time to break the training up.
What if I don't like it?
If at any time you decide the RAF Air Cadets is no longer for you then we recommend that you discuss your intentions with a member of staff before any decisions are made. This is so we can be sure you are making an informed decision and it is not the result of something that is within our ability to help with, such as issues with other cadets or you are finding some aspects of cadet life difficult. If you still wish to leave then all we ask is that your subscriptions are up-to-date and your uniform is returned on your last day with us.