As an Air Cadet, you will be presented with a range of fantastic opportunities that your friends will never have, some of which you can read about here on the following pages.
But if flying, gliding, shooting, adventure training, sports, or gaining BTEC or Duke of Edinburgh awards aren't enough for you, in the last year our Cadets have also participated in:
• RAFA, RBL Poppy appeal and other fundraising activities,
• September Battle of Britain parades,
• Visits to the various RAF stations to Northolt control tower,
• November Remembrance Day parades,
• Families evenings, local fairs and community events,
• High ropes and climbing walls,
• Visits from Army, Navy, and Royal Air Force speakers.
Cadets usually meet at the Squadron twice a week on parade evenings. We aim to provide a varied programme of activities to keep cadets interested and excited, as well as building their skills and understanding. New recruits do not need to know anything before they start - our training is intended to help them learn everything they need.
Cadets may be taught a range of subjects - from the history and principles of flight, through to skills essential to navigation and the theories of aircraft operation and handling. For many, this compliments their experiences on operational airfields and RAF stations on visits and Air Experience Flying and Gliding. We also instruct cadets in drill - an essential skill involving discipline, teamwork and concentration. For many, something that begins as a difficult exercise becomes a source of great pride: participating in a huge parade to celebrate Remembrance Sunday, or other ceremonial occasions tends to be exciting for cadets.
Squadron training contributes to the award of nationally recognized BTEC qualifications. For example, a cadet who completes the standard training syllabus automatically earns the BTEC Award in Aviation Studies (equivalent to one grade A to C GCSE), while continued participation in the Squadron's training programme and some extra study can earn cadets over 16 a BTEC in Public Services (equivalent to four grade A to C GCSEs). All of the awards available are valuable and easily obtained additions to a Cadet's CV simply by attending Cadets!
During summer months, a typical training programme will also include a range of sporting activities, e.g. team games, football, or badminton & softball. As well as the obvious personal physical benefits, these sessions also help cadets in fitness training for their Duke of Edinburgh's Award. Cadets also have the opportunity to compete against other Squadrons from across Herts & Bucks and East and can go on to represent the Region or Corps against other Services!
Thanks to our association with the Royal Air Force every Cadet is offered the opportunity to fly or glide during their time with the ATC.
Most cadets take their first flight in a Grob Tutor aircraft on an Air Experience Flight at a local RAF station. During their first trip, cadets will take the controls, and get used to how an aircraft feels and moves whilst airborne. Cadets may be offered the chance to experience and pilot the aircraft through aerobatic maneuvers, before returning safely to land! Some cadets will have their first flight in a Viking powered glider, experiencing the gentle ascent of a takeoff leading to soaring thermals and a short circuit of the field before landing.
Cadets may progress further with their piloting through the Gliding Induction Course (GIC). The GIC has been designed to give cadets a taste for Air Cadet Gliding and consists of 3 different levels of instruction. Shown various aspects of aerodynamics that have been taught in the classroom, cadets then get taught the "effects of controls" in the air, where they have the opportunity to take control and practice what they have learned. On a cadets' first visit, they will be taught the GIC 1 and subsequent visits will progress to GIC 2 and 3. On completion of the course, a GIC certificate is awarded.
Gliding Scholarship courses are an opportunity for cadets to undergo further training and achieve Gliding Scholarship Wings. A course consists of up to 8 hours in a Vigilant to achieve GS wings. Cadets showing the necessary aptitude are invited to progress to 'solo' standard and hopefully achieve the GS Solo Wings. Should you manage this and successfully complete a solo circuit you will be entitled to wear the Silver GS wings. For some if they are invited, or apply and are accepted, to become Flight Staff Cadets there will be further training. These cadets will be trained to a much higher level and again, if successful, cadets will be entitled to wear the Gold wings denoting AGT or Advanced Glider Training.
Cadets with an interest in joining the Royal Air Force, or who have special aptitude may apply for a Flying Scholarship. A variety of Scholarships exist, including ones offered by the Royal Air Force, as well as Scholarships offered by the Air League and the Duke of Edinburgh's Award. These schemes offer cadets the opportunity to rapidly progress through lessons and ground courses leading to the award of their Private Pilot's License.
Cadets get many opportunities to participate in a range of "adventure training" activities. Throughout all of these, we aim to develop the Cadet in a safe and challenging environment. Qualified staff runs all our activities and instructors, with the aim of making sure the Cadets safely enjoy themselves as much as possible!
The ATC offers a range of annual outdoor camps with activities such as rock climbing, abseiling, kayaking, mountain biking, sailing and more.
Expedition Training & Camp Craft
Cadets are trained in basic camp craft and the principles of expedition training to adequately prepare for their practical experiences in the Duke of Edinburgh's (DofE) Award. We teach Cadets the basics of setting up tents and creating a camp, as well as basic camp hygiene and cookery.
We also teach simple navigation techniques and the fundamental tools needed to complete their Award Expedition phase.
Cadets also learn the basic techniques of military field craft - how to move, work and operate in different environmental conditions.
Cadets are instructed in the basic principles of shooting on the 0.22 No. 8 rifle. This is a modified version of the Lee-Enfield rifle, and fires a single round at a time. Cadets are taught how to approach shooting safely, and given instruction in targeting and sighting procedures.
After demonstrating competence on the 0.22 No. 8, cadets move on to shooting the L98 Cadet General Purpose Rifle. Slightly altered from the SA-80 rifle that forms the main rifle of the UK Armed Forces, the L98 has the benefit of a more comfortable shooting position and a magazine. Cadets must be qualified on the No. 8 before being allowed to take qualification tests on the L98.
A small number of cadets - who show competence on the L98 rifle and good marksmanship skills - may be offered the opportunity to fire the L81 target rifle. This offers greater accuracy and the chance to shoot and compete over greater distances.
Underlying all aspects of cadet rifle training is to learning how to shoot safely. Cadets are supervised by trained and qualified members of staff continuously during their time on the range, and must pass qualification tests before being allowed to handle rifles themselves. Our cadets are always safe and well trained - and backed up by high levels of staff qualification and supervision.
Some Cadets naturally find they have ability to shoot well, while others require coaching to bring out their talent. Consistency and the ability to accurately place your shots in the same part of the target each time makes a good shot.