The Air Cadets is a youth organisation affiliated to the Royal Air Force and therefore Cadets wear the same uniform as regular RAF personnel.
Why do Cadets wear uniform?
All squadrons are commanded by an Officer of the Royal Air Force Air Cadets 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.
Who supervises and leads Cadets?
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.
Can Cadets learn to fly?
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 and is flexible based on school work etc.
How much time will my son/daughter have to give each week?
No. Although the Air Cadets receive 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 Air Cadets is held in high regard by civilian employers too and there is no pressure on cadets to consider a service career.
Are Cadets expected to join the military?
Cadets can join from 12, as long as they are 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.
At what age can my son or daughter join?
Most activities are centrally funded through the RAF which helps to keep costs down. Cadets may be required to pay towards some activities, for example a week long annual camp might be £40 – a small amount considering what’s involved. We also charge subscriptions of £15 per month to cover running costs.
How much does it cost?
Absolutely! If you’re disabled you are very welcome provided your handicap doesn’t prevent you from taking part in a reasonable number of activities, or is likely to cause you safety problems. We will be happy to speak to you about this.
What about disabled people, can they join?
No, the uniform is free but you have to look after it. You may have to buy your own shoes though.
Do I have to pay for my uniform?
There are a huge amount of expedition opportunities, some overseas, Cadets from 361 (Gateshead) Squadron have gone to places like Cyprus and Gibraltar but the most well known and popular option is the Duke of Edinburgh Award which entails overnight expeditions. They’re great fun and there are lots of other expeditions that pop up regularly.
What sort of expeditions are available?
Each session lasts around two and a half hours, from 1900 to 2130. This gives you plenty of time to complete homework and to deal with other commitments you may have.
How long will I be at the Squadron each night?
We meet twice a week on a Tuesday and Friday evening.
How many times a week do you meet?
You can join when you’re 12 as long as you are in year 8 at school and usually leave when you’re 20. The latest age you can be to join is 17.
How old must I be to join?
We get to do a huge variety of activities such as flying, gliding, target shooting, adventure training, sports, camps, drill, academic studies and lots of other things. There’s never a dull moment.
What sort of activities do the Air Cadets do?
Here at Gateshead Squadron, we run intake nights.
I think I might be interested. What do I do now?
Our next intake of recruit cadets is detailed on the ‘How to join’ page, where you can join the other potential cadets on your first night and make friends for life. On this night you will begin your training and join the RAFAC properly.
In the mean time you should come down and collect a pack, then complete the paperwork to bring with you on that first night and have a look at some of our pre-joining activities to get you prepared for being an Air Cadet (don’t worry these aren’t compulsory).