Frequently Asked Questions


What sort of activities do the air cadets do?

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.

How old must I be to join?

You can join when you’re between 13, or 12 if you’re already in year 8 at school, and usually leave when you’re 20. The latest age you can join is before your 17th birthday.

How many times a week do we meet?

We meet twice a week, Tuesday and Thursday evenings.

How long does an Air Cadet session last as I have homework and other commitments?

Each session lasts around two hours, usually from seven to nine in the evening. This gives you plenty of time to complete homework and to deal with other commitments.

Is there a good balance between the exciting activities and more serious disciplined activities?

Yes, there are lots of opportunities to do fun activities as well as the more serious side of things, but the focus is always on enjoying yourself while improving your skills.

What sort of expeditions can be done through the Air Cadets?

There are a huge amount of expedition opportunities, some overseas, but the most well known and popular option is the Duke of Edinburgh Award which entails overnight expeditions. They’re great fun. But there are lots of other expeditions that pop up regularly.

How much does it cost?

There’s a small subscription to cover the running costs which is £15 per month if you set up a standing order, making it great value for money considering what you get out of it.

Do I have to buy my own uniform? If so, does it cost a lot?

No, the uniform is free but you have to look after it. You will have to buy your own shoes though!

Is it easy to get on with people and make new friends?

Yes! Everyone is very friendly and you always feel welcome. As you’re all cadets you’ll have loads in common.

How often do you get to go flying?

You can go at least once a year but as some cadets focus on other activities sometimes you can fly much more frequently, it’s fantastic!

What about disabled people – can they join?

Absolutely! You are very welcome providing you can take part in a reasonable number of activities and as long as your disability does not cause you safety problems. The squadron staff will be happy to speak to you about this.


How much does it cost?

Most RAFAC activities are centrally funded through the RAF which helps to keep costs down. Cadets may be required to pay towards some activities, for example an annual camp might be £40 – a small amount considering what’s involved. The squadron also charges subscriptions of £15 per month to cover running costs, transport etc.

At what age can my son or daughter join?

Cadets can join from 13, or 12 if they are currently 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.

Are they expected to join the military?

No. Although the Air Cadets 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 RAFAC is held in high regard by civilian employers too and there is no pressure on cadets to consider a Service career.

How much time will they have to give each week?

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.

Can they learn to fly?

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!

Who leads and supervises cadets?

Most squadrons and activities are commanded by an RAFAC Officer 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.

Why do cadets wear uniforms?

The Air Cadets is a military youth organisation affiliated to the Royal Air Force and therefore cadets wear the same uniform as regular RAF personnel.

What uniforms do cadets wear?

Cadets wear blue uniform for classroom activities and green uniform for field exercises.

How do cadets obtain uniforms?

Most uniform is issued by the squadron for the length of time they are a member. Cadets may have to purchase items such as shoes or boots but these can be purchased cheaply from military surplus stores.

Where can I find information about security issues?

You can view the latest security FAQs here.

Can I be involved in the RAFAC?

Absolutely! The Air Cadets is very encouraging of parents who can help informally, and we’re always looking for volunteers. You can join as a uniformed member of staff, a non-uniformed Civilian Instructor or even as a member of a Civilian committee.