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Air Training Corps
The Air Training Corps Ensign Air Training Corps Ensign
Active February 5, 1941–Present
Role Volunteer Youth Organisation
Headquarters RAFC Cranwell
Motto(s) Venture Adventure
Commandant Air Cadets Air Commodore Barbara Cooper
Air Commodore-in-Chief HRH Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh

The Air Training Corps (ATC), commonly known as the Air Cadets, is a cadet organisation based in the United Kingdom. It is a voluntary youth group which is part of the Air Cadet Organization and the Royal Air Force (RAF). It is supported by the Ministry of Defence, with a regular RAF Officer, currently Air Commodore Dawn McCafferty,[1] serving as Commandant Air Cadets (Cmdt AC). The cadets and the majority of staff are civilians[2] and, although a number of its members do go on to join the RAF or other services, the ATC is not set up as a recruiting organisation. The enrollment age for the Air Training Corps is 12 years and 3 months, however cadets can join at the age of 12 and enter as Junior cadets (see junior cadet). When the cadet reaches the age of 18, they are appointed to the position of instructor cadet and are subjected to the same regulations as adult members of staff (including duty of care responsibilities). Service as a Cadet ends, at the latest, on the 20th Birthday of the Cadet, when they become eligible to apply for service as a Civilian Instructor (CI) (See membership).

The ATC has almost 41,000 members, aged between 12 to 20 years, within 926 Squadrons. Its Cadets are supported by a network of around 10,000 volunteer Staff and around 5,000 Civilian Committee Members.

Aims and motto[edit | edit source]

The Aims of the Air Training Corps as set out in the Royal Warrant and approved by HM the Queen 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 civilian life.
  • To foster the spirit of adventure and develop qualities of leadership and good citizenship.[3]

The Air Training Corps motto is "Venture Adventure".[4]

HRH The Duke of Edinburgh has served as honorary Air Commodore-in-Chief since 1953.[5]

The cadet promise[edit | edit source]

Upon enrollment into the ATC, each and every cadet has to make the following promise, usually at a ceremony presided over by the Unit Padre or Officer Commanding, and by signing the promise in their Cadet Record of Service Book (RAF Form 3822):

"I Cadet *Name*, hereby solemnly promise on my honour to serve my Unit loyally and to be faithful to my obligations as a member of the Air Training Corps. I further promise to be a good citizen and to do my duty to God and the Queen, my Country and my Flag."[6]

Ensign[edit | edit source]

The Ensign of the Air Training Corps

The Air Training Corps Ensign is hoisted for every parade and hauled-down at dusk. It is treated with the same respect and dignity afforded to the Royal Air Force Ensign.

The ATC Ensign is hoisted and hauled down by a nominated member of the Squadron, sometimes a Cadet NCO, member of staff, or simply a Cadet who has been chosen, with the salute being taken by any commissioned officer, normally the squadron's Officer Commanding. All other officers salute during the hoisting and hauling down.

Most Wings and Squadrons also have a banner, which is paraded on formal occasions. The ATC also has a Corps Banner, which is afforded the same courtesies as (but does not hold the status of) a RAF Squadron Standard.

History[edit | edit source]

"Father of the air cadet movement"[edit | edit source]

Air Commodore Sir John Chamier is affectionately known as the father of the air cadet movement.[4] He was the son of a major general and joined the army himself as a regular officer. After service attached to the Indian Army, he joined the Royal Flying Corps (the forerunner of the Royal Air Force) where he served as a pilot in World War I.

He transferred to the Royal Air Force in 1918 and eventually retired from the service in 1929. His love of aviation and his tremendous capacity for hard work was such that, following his retirement, he became the Secretary-General of the Air League - an organisation made up of people who could see a bright future for aviation and who wanted to make the British public aware of its potential.

Against a background of rising interest in aviation and with the clouds of war beginning to form over Europe, Air Commodore Chamier thought of the idea of starting an aviation cadet corps. He knew that in the 1914–1918 war, in desperate moments, hand picked young men with only a few hours of training were sent to do combat in the air - only to fall victim to well trained enemy aviators. He knew also that the winning of air power would need the services of many highly skilled and highly trained men using the best equipment and that the sooner such training could be started the better.

Air Defence Cadet Corps[edit | edit source]

The Air Defence Cadet Corps (ADCC) was set up in 1938 by Air Commodore Chamier.[7]

Its purpose was to train young men in various aviation related skills. These skills were eventually destined to be used by RAF and Fleet Air Arm.

The corps was extremely popular with thousands joining up all eager to help Britain prepare for World War II.

In 1941, in order to provide the means of giving part-time air training to young men destined for the Royal Air Force, the ADCC was formally established as the Air Training Corps by Royal Warrant. The ATC still continues today training young people in all types of life skills.

The Air Training Corps is Established[edit | edit source]

In 1941 the government realized the true value of the work done by the ADCC and agreed to take over its control. This meant a number of changes to the corps, and in fact brought about the birth of a completely new organization, called the Air Training Corps. So on the 5 February 1941 the Air Training Corps (ATC) was officially established, with King George VI very kindly agreeing to be the Air Commodore-in-Chief, and issuing a Royal Warrant setting out the Corps' aims.

The number of young men responding to this new ATC was spectacular. Within the first month the size of the old ADCC had virtually doubled to more than 400 squadrons and after 12 months it was about 8 times as big. The new ATC badge was designed and, once approved by the King, it was published in August 1941. The motto VENTURE ADVENTURE, devised by Air Commodore Chamier, was adopted by the ATC and incorporated into the badge.

The new ATC squadrons adapted their training programmes to prepare young men for entry to the RAF. Squadrons arranged visits to RAF and Fleet Air Arm stations as part of the cadets' training and to let them fly as much as possible. Everybody wanted to fly but, with so few flights available, many cadets were disappointed. One solution designed to get cadets airborne was to introduce them to gliding. This would give cadets a chance to get the feel of an aircraft in flight and allow them to handle the controls. This obviously could not happen overnight. It would be many years before this dream could be realized.[8]

Admittance of females to the Air Training Corps[edit | edit source]

Prior to the 1980s females were unable to join the ATC, although they were able to join an attached unit (if there was one at that location) of the Girls Venture Corps (GVC) which had been formed in the early years of the Second World War,[9] the GVCAC still exists (nowadays at separate sites) although in greatly reduced numbers due to competition from the ATC.

Organisation[edit | edit source]

Within the Corps there are four levels of command. From top, down, they are: Corps, Region, Wing and Squadron. The Squadrons are the focal point for the majority of members of the Corps.

Units which are too small in numbers to establish a Squadron, are known as Detached Flights of an already established local Squadron.

National level[edit | edit source]

The ATC is the largest part of the Air Cadet Organization (ACO), along with the RAF sections of the Combined Cadet Force. It is divided geographically into six regions (each commanded by an RAFR Group Captain), each of which are sub-divided into wings. There are currently 36 wings, most named after the one or two counties that they operate in. Wings are further sub-divided into squadrons.

Headquarters Air Cadets (HQAC), based at RAF Cranwell, controls the organization; and there are subordinate HQs at Region and Wing levels staffed by officers of the RAF Reserve and civil servants. A regular RAF Air Commodore serves as Commandant Air Cadets. The Current Commandant Air Cadets is Air Commodore Barbara Cooper CBE. The Chief of Staff is a retired Group Captain in the RAF Reserves. The current Chief of Staff is Group Captain John Lawlor.

The ACO forms one of the seven functional areas of No 22 (Training) Group Royal Air Force, which is responsible for the recruitment and selection of all RAF personnel and for the policy and delivery of RAF non-operational training (including Flying Training). No 22 Group is led by the Air Officer Commanding No 22 Group RAF, currently Air Vice-Marshal B M North OBE MA RAF

Two Air Cadet National Adventure Training Centres are controlled by HQAC - at Llanbedr, Gwynedd, Wales and Windermere, Cumbria, England. These provide a range of adventure training courses and accommodation for squadron and wing expeditions. HQAC also controls 28 Volunteer Gliding Squadrons around the UK, through the Air Cadet Central Gliding School at RAF Syerston.

Local level[edit | edit source]

ATC Squadrons are established in most large towns in the UK and there are also units in Cyprus, Germany, Gibraltar and the Channel Islands. There are approximately 1,000 ATC Squadrons. The first 50 squadrons formed have their squadron numbers followed by an F to show they are "founder" squadrons e.g. No 14F (Northolt) Squadron. Only 30 are still in existence, as the other 20 have disbanded over time.

In towns not large enough to sustain a squadron of 30 cadets, or as a supplement to an existing squadron in a larger town or city, a Detached Flight (DF) may be formed. This operates much like any other unit, but is technically a component part of a nearby larger squadron. A Detached Flight has their parent squadron number followed by the letters DF to show that they are a Detached Flight e.g. No 38DF is the service shortform title for No 38 (Crieff) Detached Flight, raised by No 38F (Perth) Squadron. The establishment of Officers, WOs, SNCOs (Non-Commissioned Officers) and cadet NCOs is dependent on the size of the Squadron or DF. There are approximately 48 Detached Flights currently[when?] in being.

Each squadron is usually commanded by a RAFVR(T) Officer (although this is not always possible; 213 (City of Rochester) 291 (Westminster) and 1440 (Shoreham-By-Sea) are examples of a squadron run by a Warrant Officer). The Officer Commanding (or OC) has a good deal of autonomy in running the unit but also carries heavy responsibilities. Additionally where a unit has other members of staff the OC allocates their duties and also provides recommendations on the appointment, retention and promotion of those staff.

Another member of the adult staff with much responsibility within a unit is the Squadron Warrant Officer (Sqn WO). This person will hold the rank of Warrant Officer, or may be a SNCO if no Warrant Officer is on squadron, and will typically have spent many years working within the squadron or at least within the ATC. In the case of no commissioned officers being present, the Sqn WO will take charge of the unit. At all other times, the Sqn WO will usually hold a closer relationship with the cadets than the OC will.

This basic structure has many permutations - varying numbers of cadets and staff, accommodation and facilities. A typical Detached Flight consists of the Officer Commanding and a minimum of fifteen cadets and is often housed in rented accommodation. At the other extreme a large Squadron can consist of 120 plus cadets, 4 commissioned officers, two non-commissioned officers and a half dozen Civilian Instructors.

Structure[edit | edit source]

The Air Training Corps is formed of six Regions across the United Kingdom and each of these Regions are made up of six Wings.

Regions[edit | edit source]

Wings[edit | edit source]

Central & East London & South East North Scotland & Northern Ireland South West Wales & West
Bedfordshire & Cambridgeshire Wing Essex Wing Central & East Yorkshire Wing Aberdeen & North East Scotland Wing Bristol & Gloucestershire Wing Merseyside Wing
Hertfordshire & Bucks Wing Kent Wing Cumbria & North Lancashire Wing Dundee & Central Scotland Wing Devon & Somerset Wing No. 1 Welsh Wing
Norfolk & Suffolk Wing London Wing Durham / Northumberland Wing Edinburgh & South Scotland Wing Dorset & Wilts Wing No. 2 Welsh Wing
South & East Midlands Wing Middlesex Wing East Cheshire & South Manchester Wing Glasgow & West Scotland Wing Hampshire & Isle Of Wight Wing 3 Welsh Wing
Trent Wing Surrey Wing East Lancashire Wing Highland Wing Plymouth & Cornwall Wing Staffordshire Wing
Warwickshire & Birmingham Wing Sussex Wing South & West Yorkshire Wing Northern Ireland Wing Thames Valley Wing West Mercian Wing

Squadrons[edit | edit source]

See Interactive Map of ATC units

Membership[edit | edit source]

Junior Cadets[edit | edit source]

People aged between 13 and 17 can join the ATC. On joining, and until enrolment, they are given the title 'Junior Cadet' (formerly 'Probationer') as they can go along to most meetings to get a feel for the ATC. Upon enrolment they are permitted to wear uniform after 4 weeks training, and begin working towards their '1st Class Cadet' classification. Once cadets reach 1st Class classification they are able to take part in almost all ATC activities. This idea was pioneered by Air Commodore Gordon Moulds while he was Commandant Air Cadets, as he believed that the old Probationer system, which did not enrol cadets until they could pass their 1st Class classification, was resulting in cadets losing interest and leaving before enrolment.

Cadets[edit | edit source]

From the age of 13, and subject to successfully completing lessons in a number of subjects, Junior Cadets can be enrolled as a Second Class Cadet. Cadets can stay in the corps up until age 20. Prior to mid May 2007 they must have reached the rank of Cadet Sergeant by age 18 to be eligible to remain in the Corps after this age (the requirement to have reached a specific rank by age 18 was revoked in mid-late May 2007 after the policy had been in place for some 3½ years. Cadets not of the rank of Cadet Sergeant must, however, apply for an extension if they wish to stay beyond their eighteenth birthday). Those who stay on beyond 18 are termed Instructor Cadets, although they will be known as Staff Cadets as of September 2010. All cadets over the age of 18 must complete a duty of care course within 6 months of their 18th birthday.

All cadets are issued with uniform and must each pay a small amount in subscriptions (or 'subs' as they are commonly known), usually around £50-£100 per year, although this can vary widely from squadron to squadron. The subscription money covers parts of the activities undertaken by the Cadets for example Adventure Training, local camps etc. Each squadron also has to pay a fixed amount to their Wing to which it belongs for each cadet 'on its books'. This is then split between the Wing, Region and Headquarters. Activities such as small and full bore target shooting, flying and gliding are paid for by the Royal Air Force-public money.

Cadet NCOs[edit | edit source]

As Cadets become more experienced, and if suitable, they can be promoted by their Squadron's Commanding Officer (CO) to the status of Cadet NCOs. Promotion to the ranks of Corporal, Sergeant and Flight Sergeant is at the discretion of the Commanding Officer. He/she (or a representative) will make a decision based on merit and leadership potential - many squadrons have formal selection procedures, whilst others select by observing potential during normal training. Promotion to Cadet Warrant Officer is decided by a panel at Wing level. Prospective candidates will be a Flight Sergeant, preferably holding the Staff Cadet classification and will be required to attend an interview with the Wing Commander or their representative. Cadets who reached the rank of Cadet Warrant Officer were formerly allowed to remain an Air Cadet until they were 22 years old, however all cadets must leave by age 20.

The NCO ranks within the ATC mirror those of the RAF's non technical/flying trades and are, in ascending order of seniority:

Cadet Corporal's arm badge Cadet Corporal (Cdt Cpl)
Cadet Sergeant's arm badge Cadet Sergeant (Cdt Sgt)
Cadet Flight Sergeant's arm badge Cadet Flight Sergeant (Cdt FS)
Cadet Warrant Officer (CWO)

It is common within the ATC to abbreviate these ranks by dropping the prefix "Cadet". Cadet Warrant Officers are addressed as "Warrant Officer", "Warrant", "CWO", "Cadet Warrant" or "Cadet Warrant Officer" (Warrant Officer is the correct form of address,[4] but curiously is rarely used), and not as "Sir/Ma'am".

Instructor Cadets[edit | edit source]

All cadets who are over the age of 18, must complete a "BASIC" (Basic Adult Staff Instructor Course) or "Duty of Care" course and have the prefix "Instructor Cadet" before their rank. These Cadets wear a rank slide with the words 'INSTRUCTOR CADET' embroidered below their rank insignia (provided they are the rank of cadet corporal or above - no authorised insignia currently exists for those of cadet rank). An instructor cadet has extra responsibilities over under-18 year olds which include a duty of care to the younger Cadets and NCOs. Instructor Cadets are required to attend training to aid them in their transition from 'child' to 'adult'.

Nevertheless, instructor cadets have no authority over cadets below the age of 18 holding the same or more senior rank, unless the situation puts cadets at risk then the instructor cadet can step in by acting as an adult rather than a cadet but only in extreme cases. This has been the source of much debate within the ATC.

Cadet classifications[edit | edit source]

Not all cadets who join the ATC can expect to receive promotion. However, all cadets can progress through the training system and, by passing exams, achieve different classifications. The classification levels are Junior Cadet (formerly known as Second Class Cadet this is automatically achieved on enrollment), First Class Cadet, Leading Cadet, Senior Cadet and Staff Cadet. For each of these qualifications cadets study a variety of subjects. An overview of the required standards is shown below, some units may also add further criteria such as first aid qualifications before allowing a cadet to complete all of the exams.

These subjects are studied using tuition from the instructors, and/or self-study from Air Cadet Publications or ('ACPs'). Each successive qualification generally allows a cadet greater participation. For example, cadets must be First Class before they can take part in some activities such as UK annual camps, while Leading Cadets can participate in overseas activities. Cadets who have achieved the Staff Cadet classification have completed their academic training and can attain a BTEC Award in Aviation Studies. Staff cadets wear a yellow lanyard over the left shoulder, and have greater involvement in the day-to-day running of the squadron, as well as taking on a training role.

First Class Cadets[edit | edit source]

First Class is also commonly referred to as 'Basic Training'. Before May 2008, the cadets would spend a lot of time in the classroom studying the following subjects: The Air Training Corps, The Royal Air Force, History of Flight, Initial Expedition Training, Basic Communications and Airmanship I,(these are still used by some squadrons today such as xix crawley sqn). After a number of lectures and when the cadet felt ready, they would take a multiple choice examination either on paper or on a computer software program. some wings run courses that would involve the cadet spending a few solid days learning and would then be presented with the appropriate classification if successful in their exams. In May 2008, HQAC decided to change the first class training programme. It is possible they decided that new recruits (junior cadets) were being deterred by exams. A variety of methods are now used to test a cadet's understanding of the subject, including practical tests and exercises to test ability, and interviews/quizzes to test knowledge. All junior cadets also have to pass a practical Drill Test to become first class. The drill test is a sequence of simple drill manoeuvres essential for forming squads and a good foundation to build on for more advanced drill.

Leading Cadets[edit | edit source]

For a cadet to become a leading cadet, they must have already gained first class status. They will then have to complete 3 examinations which are: Airmanship II, Basic Navigation and Principles of Flight. All exams for leading cadet and above (with the exception of Staff Part 2) are multiple choice and consists of 25 questions, and are invigilated by an independent invigilator. The pass mark is 13 on each exam.

Senior Cadets[edit | edit source]

For a cadet to become a senior cadet, they must have already gained leading cadet status. They will then have to take 2 exams from a choice of 8 subjects, examined in the same way as for the Leading cadet syllabus. The 8 subjects are: Air Navigation, Pilot Navigation, Satellite Communications, Propulsion, Airframes, Advanced Radio and RADAR, Aircraft Handling and Operational Flying.

Staff[edit | edit source]

Ex-Staff Cadet training will, as of 1 September 2010, be replaced by Instructor Cadet Training. The former uses of 'Instructor Cadet' and 'Staff Cadet' terminology will be switched, with Staff cadets being those over the age of 18. The new 'Instructor Cadet' training will still be split into two parts. The first is the same as the old Staff Part 1 examination, in the form of another two exams from the eight subjects listed under Senior, but this will now give the cadet the classification Master Air Cadet. The second stage of the 'Instructor Cadet' training will be the 'Methods of Instruction' course; this has a similar format to the JNCO/SNCO courses but with slightly revised content. Only after completing this second stage will cadets be authorised to wear the yellow lanyard of the Instructor Cadet; Master Air Cadet has its own new badge for the brassard which shows an RAF Aircrew Eagle surrounded by vine leaves.

Adult staff[edit | edit source]

The staff who run the ATC at unit level come in 3 types: commissioned officers, senior NCOs and civilian instructors (CIs). All uniformed staff must attend training courses run by the RAF at the ATC Adult Training Facility, RAF Cranwell (ATF), usually within a year of appointment, with further courses as they progress up the rank structure.

Adult Staff Ranks
Commissioned Officers Insignia Non-commissioned Officers Insignia Civilian Staff Insignia
Officer Cadet (Off Cdt) RAF Off Cdt.png Sergeant (Sgt (ATC)) 70px Civilian Instructor (CI) None normally worn,
although may be seen
with a lapel pin or
an armband, or may
be wearing a sweatshirt
or polo shirt with a logo.
Pilot Officer (Plt Off) UK-Air-OF1B.svg Flight Sergeant (FS (ATC)) 70px Chaplain None normally worn,
although may be seen
with a lapel pin
Flying Officer (Fg Off) UK-Air-OF1A.svg Warrant Officer (WO (ATC))
Flight Lieutenant (Flt Lt) UK-Air-OF2.svg Warrant Officer* (WO (ATC)) 70px
Squadron Leader (Sqn Ldr) UK-Air-OF3.svg
Wing Commander (Wg Cdr) UK-Air-OF4.svg

*Ex-regular WO, or (formerly) granted to other ATC WOs for long service, and may still be found as such.

Officers[edit | edit source]

Officers are commissioned into the Training Branch of the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve - the RAFVR(T). Unless an officer has previous service, he or she is commissioned as a substantive Pilot Officer, termed Officer Cadet until the Officers Initial Course at RAF Cranwell is completed. Unlike RAF Officer Cadets at the RAF College or RAFVR Officer Cadets of the University Air Squadron, RAFVR(T) Officer Cadets are, in fact, commissioned and as such are entitled to proper paid compliments. In coming years this is likely to change and the non-commissioned Officer Cadet RAFVR(T) rank will be introduced, bringing the RAFVR(T) in line with the RAF and RAFVR. Promotion to Flying Officer normally occurs after two years. Former regular commissioned officers usually start at Flying Officer, subject to certain conditions. After 9 years commissioned service, or upon becoming Officer Commanding of a squadron and completing an Officers' Senior Course (OSC), the rank of Flight Lieutenant (acting paid) is bestowed - Squadron Commanders who have yet to complete OSC may hold the rank of Flight Lieutenant (acting unpaid). Squadrons are usually commanded by Flight Lieutenants, who are also found as Wing and Regional staff officers along with Squadron Leaders and Wing Commanders. Particularly large squadrons are sometimes commanded by Squadron Leaders (usually when the squadron has 100 or more cadets).

NCOs and WOs[edit | edit source]

Adults may also be appointed as senior NCOs, these being ranks within the ATC meaning that they are not part of the RAF. Adult NCOs/WOs are uniformed in the same way as their RAF counterparts with two exceptions: a small gilt ATC badge is worn on the rank badge and Warrant Officers (unless they have previous regular or active reserves warranted service) wear a different rank badge. Until recently, the ranks of adult NCOs/WOs were Adult Sergeant, Adult Flight Sergeant and Adult Warrant Officer (abbreviated to A/Sgt. A/FS, AWO), however this has been changed since is was not deemed necessary to point out that these NCOs were adults. The ranks of Adult NCOs/WOs are now:

  • Sergeant (ATC)
  • Flight Sergeant (ATC)
  • Warrant Officer (ATC)

These are abbreviated to Sgt (ATC), FS (ATC) and WO (ATC) respectively. In conversation Adult NCO's are often still referred to using the old style ranks, such as Adult Sergeant X, and their ranks are sometimes mistakenly abbreviated according to the old system (i.e. ASgt, AFS or AWO).

Prior to the 'LaSER (London and South East Region) Review' of 2003, the adult ranks of Sergeant and Flight Sergeant did not exist, meaning that the non-commissioned rank structure of a squadron was more straight forward i.e. Cadet, Cadet Corporal, Cadet Sergeant, Cadet Flight Sergeant, Cadet Warrant Officer, Adult Warrant Officer. This has been disturbed by inserting the ranks of Sgt (ATC) and FS (ATC) in between CWO and WO (ATC).

Civilian Instructors and Chaplains[edit | edit source]

Civilian Instructors, known as CIs, play an important role in training cadets and, in many ways, are the 'backbone' of the Squadron. Unlike Adult NCOs and Officers, CIs should not wear uniform and do not form part of the chain of command in the squadron. However, out of respect, they are still referred to as Sir or Ma'am by cadets. Some units wrongly mandate the wearing of arm bands or lapel pins to identify CIs, particularly when on RAF Stations. Recently, a new Civilian Instructor's uniform has been rolled out across the corps, consisting of a light blue polo shirt and dark blue sweatshirt bearing the name of the corps and "Royal Air Force, in an effort to standardise the means by which CIs are identified.

Similarly, ATC Chaplains are usually civilian members of the local clergy (although forces chaplains may join as Service Instructors). Civilian Chaplains also do not normally wear uniform, and are generally addressed as 'Padre' by all ranks.

ATC Chaplains hold an Honorary position on the Squadron, and thus, unlike their regular military counterparts, do not hold an Officers Commission, and are thus not saluted, contrary to popular belief within the Corps.

Service Instructors[edit | edit source]

Members of the Armed Forces often assist at ATC Squadrons in the role of Service Instructor - they engage in instructional duties which are often related to their serving role. Service Instructors wear the uniform of their parent unit and are addressed appropriately, with ranks junior to NCO by addressed as Staff.

Civilian committee[edit | edit source]

For each level of command there is an associated Civilian Committee. There is a minimum of 5 members to any "Civ Com", and there must be a chairman, treasurer and secretary as well as the OC (an ex-officio member) and someone to take minutes. The Civ Com is responsible for overseeing the initial unit formation and direction. The committees, consisting of respected members of the community often including parents of cadets and retired staff, also manage finances (in particular fund raising) but do not have any executive authority.

The ATC is a charitable organisation. The Royal Air Force provides funds for a few of the key activities such as flying training. These finances are known as 'public funds'. The great range of other activities offered by the ATC however are financed from 'non-public fund'. Here the Civilian Committees come into their own in their tireless efforts to seek the necessary financial assistance, by way of fund-raising, which allows these other activities to take place.

Events organised by Civilian Committees to raise money can be:

  • Cadets packing bags for money at the local supermarket
  • General 'spare change' collections at local events

Squadrons are "charities excepted from registration". This means they enjoy all of the legal benefits of a registered charity without the burden of registration.

Activities[edit | edit source]

Trophies[edit | edit source]

ATC Squadrons each have a chance annually to win the two most prized trophies in the Corps. The Sir Alan Lees Trophy is awarded by the Commandant to the Squadron with the best statistics and overall impression when inspected. The Morris Trophy is Awarded from the 6 regional candidates upon inspection by the Commandant.

Sir Alan Lees Trophy
Year Winner Officer Commanding
2008 No. 241 (Wanstead and Woodford) Squadron, London Wing Squadron Leader Jerry Godden RAFVR(T)
2009 No. 610 (Chester) Squadron, Wales and West Region Flight Lieutenant John Kendal RAFVR(T)
The Morris Trophy
Year Winner Officer Commanding
2008 No. 1855 (Royton) Squadron, East Lancashire Wing Flight Lieutenant Mark Hamilton RAFVR(T)
2009 No. 1211 (Swadlincote) Squadron of Central and East Region Flight Lieutenant Alyn Thompson RAFVR(T)

Additionally cadets are open to achieving trophies such as the Foster and Currall Trophies. The Foster Trophy being awarded to the cadet who has achieved the highest academic results in the entire Corps over his/her time in the ATC, after finishing the cadet syllabus that leads to achieving a Btec in Aviation.

In addition to the trophies mentioned above there are also trophies presented annually by the Royal Air Forces Association. These trophies include the "Sir Douglas Bader Wings Appeal Trophy" for the ATC squadron collecting the most money on a per capita basis, The squadron achieving second place is awarded the “Sir Augustus Walker Trophy". the “Sir Robert Saundby Trophy” is awarded for collecting the highest net Wings Appeal amount. In 2009 the "Sir Douglas Bader Wings Appeal Trophy" and the “Sir Robert Saundby Trophy” were both again won by 1224 (Wharfedale) Squadron, Central and East Yorkshire Wing.

Annual camps[edit | edit source]

The ATC runs numerous Annual camps each year, run on RAF Stations so that cadets may get a taste of service life. Annual camps are organised at Wing level with place for all squadrons, so that every cadet who wishes to take part and who has achieved at least the First Class qualification may attend. Cadets usually stay in RAF barrack blocks and eat in the station's mess facilities. The itinerary is always packed with typical ATC activities such as air experience flying, shooting, adventure training and, of course, drill. Cadets will also have the opportunity to visit various sections of the station and meet the people who work there.

Overseas Camps[edit | edit source]

For older and more experienced cadets who have achieved the Leading Cadet qualification and attended a UK Annual Camp, the corps also offers overseas camps. These are more expensive than UK camps, as the cost of flights has to be paid for, and are generally more relaxed and seen as a reward for hard working and long serving cadets. Since the end of the Cold War, and the closure of RAF stations in Germany, the number of overseas camp opportunities has decreased. As of 2007 the destinations for overseas camps are:

Work Experience camps[edit | edit source]

Another - newly introduced - option for more senior cadets are Work Experience Camps - whilst annual camps aim to give cadets a general taste of service life, the Work Experience Camps cater to cadets who are interested in a specific trade, such as the RAF Regiment or RAF Police.

Music camps[edit | edit source]

There are also specific music camps, which is where a cadet of musical proficiency applies to attend, and they are selected depending on the musical skill (grades) and their other qualities. About 35 - 40 cadets are selected for this each year. The annual national Air Cadet music camp is held at RAF College Cranwell, HQ of the ATC. Upon attending this camp, cadets are rewarded by receiving a gold-coloured band badge, to replace the silver-coloured badges worn by ATC band members.

The National Concert Band of the Air Cadets, composed of attendees of the National camp, have recently performed at some very prestigious events. These include The Royal International Air Tattoo (RIAT), held at RAF Fairford. A Garden Party at Buckingham Palace, playing the National Anthem for the arrival of HRH Prince Charles and Camilla. The band has also performed at The Mansion House, London for the Royal Centenary Banquet of the Air League in the presence of distinguished guests such as The Lord Mayor of London, and HRH Princess Royal.

Towards the second half of 2008, the ACO Music Services agreed to establish a corps marching band, formed of cadets from all 6 regions throughout the Air Training Corps. The first National Marching Band camp was held in October 2008 at Browndown Battery, with a performance being made in front of HMS Victory.

The Nation Marching Band of the Air Cadets, now uses Fort Blockhouse as it's training ground. The bands most recent performances have been at Royal Air Force Museum London, the previous Hendon Aerodrome. On 13 July 2010, the 72 cadets forming the band marched down Pall Mall and into Buckingham Palace in a contingent featuring 575 other Air Cadets, celebrating the 150th Anniversary of Cadet Forces.

Other camps[edit | edit source]

Cadets may also have the opportunity to attend other sorts of annual camp, such as a locally (i.e. wing or squadron) organised camp - often based around adventure training or fieldcraft, or as guests on a camp run by one of the other cadet forces such as the ACF or SCC. Camps based around fieldcraft, survival and requiring the cadets to be in DPMs (No. 3 Uniform) for most of the time spent on the camp, are mostly and affectionately known as 'Greens camps'.

Uniform[edit | edit source]

Cadets and some staff wear a uniform similar to that worn by the Royal Air Force for most duties.

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. "Welcome to the Air Training Corps". Air Cadet Organization. 2007. http://www.aircadets.org/. Retrieved 2007-01-17. 
  2. "Air Cadet Organization: Annual Report 2006". Air Cadet Organization. 2006. 
  3. "Expand Your Horizons: Adult Volunteers". Air Cadet Organization. 2007. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 "Air Cadet Publication 31: General Service Training". Air Cadet Organization. 2000. pp. 1–1.  Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "Air Cadet Organization" defined multiple times with different content
  5. "H.R.H. Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh". Monarchy Today. 2008-10-23. http://www.royal.gov.uk/output/page5641.asp?submitted=submit2&MRF=DE&keywords=Air+Training+Corps&region=&submit2=Search. Retrieved 2008-10-23. 
  6. "RAF Form 3822: Cadet Record of Service". Air Cadet Organization. 2004. 
  7. http://www.mod.uk/DefenceInternet/AboutDefence/WhatWeDo/ReserveForcesandCadets/DRFC/HistoryOfTheCadetForces.htm
  8. "Air Cadet Publication 31: General Service Training". Air Cadet Organization. 2000. pp. 1–3/4/5. 
  9. GVCAC HQ website. "The Girls Venture Corps Air Cadets". http://www.gvcac.org.uk/. Retrieved 2008-09-28. 

External links[edit | edit source]

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