The ATC is the cadet organisation of the Royal Air Force, so naturally we give our cadets the opportunity to go flying in powered aircraft and gliding in gliders. For most people, “flying” means going on holiday; they never take control of an aircraft themselves. Cadets at 216 do just that on their very first flight. The pilot will taxi out, take off, find clear air space… then it’s your turn.
Joining the Air Cadets opens up lots of opportunities, including the chance to fly! It’s our aim to get you airborne as often as possible, as a passenger in a light aircraft, a glider or even on-board RAF aircraft such as our Typhoon fast-jet or a Chinook helicopter.
Air Experience Flights
And what an experience! As a cadet you’ll have the chance to fly with the best – RAF pilots.
Air Experience Flight (AEF) instructors are all current or former RAF service pilots who volunteer to pass on their knowledge and enthusiasm for flying to you. Our main flying takes place at RAF Cosford with No 8 Squadron AEF. You’re shown how the aircraft flies and given the chance to control it and experience aerobatics. The views from 3,000ft are stunning.
We try to make sure every Air Cadet gets the opportunity to have a flight each year. You’ll join a long list of cadets going back over 50 years – including royalty – who have benefited from this fantastic experience. The first AEFs were formed in 1958 and flew the classic DeHavilland Chipmunk which served faithfully for almost 40 years until it was replaced by the Scottish Aviation Bulldog.
Recently, it’s the Grob Tutor that has become the aircraft of choice. It has great visibility from its large canopy and is agile enough to allow it to perform full aerobatics. You’ll soon feel right at home in the Tutor and hungry for more flight time.
Imagine floating along thermal air currents with just the sound of wind rushing past your aircraft. You’re over 2,000ft in the air and you have the controls of an 8 metre long aircraft in your hands. It’s a buzz, and one of the biggest reasons our cadets join up.
The aircraft we use allow your first steps to flying to be totally exhilarating. They’re an integral part of the cadet experience, designed to get you trained, confident and ready for solo flying. If you have a talent for flying we’ll spot it.
Your gliding experience kicks off at a Volunteer Gliding Squadron (VGS) on our Part Task Trainers. These are full simulators to give you an idea of the basics of flying. Once you’ve completed this you’ll get a chance to go up in a glider. Your focus, along with others from the squadron will be to complete the Gliding Induction Course (GIC).
Designed to give you a taste for Air Cadet Gliding, the GIC consists of three levels of instruction. On your first visit you’ll be taught the GIC 1. Later visits will cover GIC 2 and 3. In these levels you’ll learn all about aerodynamics and controlling the aircraft, first in a classroom, then taking control and practicing what you’ve learned in the air. After you completed each course, you’ll be awarded your gliding wings!
Prove that you have the aptitude for flying and you could bag yourself a prestigious flying scholarship.
There are several scholarships available to air cadets each year. For many cadets these courses are the stepping stone to their PPL – Private Pilots’ Licence – and potentially a career as a pilot with the RAF, the Royal Navy, Army or commercial airlines. Some cadets achieve their PPLs before they even get their driving licence, so the sky really is the limit!
The Air Cadet Pilot Scheme
Genuinely interested in a high-flying career? Why not aim for one of nearly 140 light aircraft courses available to air cadets each year at Tayside Aviation in Dundee?
A further 27 places are available at the Air Experience Flights (AEF) embedded with the RAF’s University Air Squadrons across the UK.
To apply you’ll first have to complete your non-solo flying course and win your blue wings or, preferably, have achieved a gliding solo and won your silver wings.
Air Cadet Pilot Navigation Scheme
Want to wear the coveted pilot navigation badge? You could be one of up to 30 cadets that win a place each year on the Air Cadet Pilot Navigation Scheme – run at Air Experience Flights. The entry criteria for applicants is the same as the Pilot Scheme. It’s a great chance to really expand your knowledge of aviation navigation.
You’ve done your Gliding Induction Course (GIC), so what’s next? Getting your Gliding Scholarship Wings.
This course gets you deeper into flying and gives you more flight time. To be nominated for a Gliding Scholarship (GS) just let your squadron or unit staff know you want in. It’s open to anyone over 16 and you’re not required to have completed a GIC 1, 2 or 3, but it’s great if you have. Once you pass the standard medical check, it’s just a matter of waiting for a place on the course to become available.
Going Solo and Beyond
Show the necessary aptitude and you could be invited to progress to solo standard and even achieve your silver GS wings for flying solo!
It doesn’t end there. If you’re one of the best you could be invited, or apply, to become a Flight Staff Cadet. Training to a much higher level, your gold GS wings for Advanced Glider Training (AGT) await.
And if you make it that far, it won’t have been easy. You’ll have a real talent for flying.