Frequently Asked Questions

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The Air Cadets, officially known as the ATC (Air Training Corps), is a national adventure youth organisation, run by highly qualified volunteers, for boys and girls between the ages of 12 (year 8) to 17 years, with support from the RAF. What it isn't is a youth club! All meetings and activities are planned in advance and although not strictly part of the RAF, our organisation, structure and uniforms broadly mirror the RAF.

With almost 40,000 cadets, within nearly 1,000 Squadrons, the ATC is one of the country's premier youth organizations and the world's largest youth air training organization. The Cadets are supported by a volunteer staff of over 12,000 plus 5,000 Civilian Committee Members.

The Air Cadets has three main aims, they are;
- To promote and encourage among young men and women a practical interest in aviation and the Royal Air Force.
- To provide training which will be useful both in the Services and in civil life.
- To foster the spirit of adventure and to develop the qualities of leadership and good citizenship.

The Air Cadets has lots to offer you - the sky is the limit - literally!
The following list is not complete but for starters how about :
- Flying in light aircraft
- Gliding - even earn your wings as a solo pilot!
- Adventure Training
- Target shooting and marksmanship skills
- Marching band musician
- Model making
- Campcraft
- Sports, including hockey, netball, football, rugby, cross-country, canoe polo
- Visiting and/or staying at RAF bases
- Opportunities to travel to overseas units
- BTEC in Aviation Studies, Music and Teamwork and Personal Development in the Community
- Duke of Edinburgh Awards

All squadrons are commanded by an Officer of the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve (Training Branch) who is assisted by Adult Non-Commissioned Officers and Civilian Instructors. All staff have had criminal records checks to work with young people and are fully qualified in the activities they're involved in.

No. Although the ACO receives some funding from the RAF, we are not a recruiting organisation. While some cadets do choose to join the military, the training provided by the ACO is held in high regard by civilian employers too and there is no pressure on cadets to consider a Service career.