Aviation is at the heart of the Air Cadets, and at some point, you will get the chance to take the controls and fly an aircraft!
There are loads of different flying opportunities, including powered flight, gliding, flights in military aircraft and various flying scholarships available for those who want to learn further.
You’ll probably experience your first flight with the Air Cadets in an Air Experience Flight (AEF) in the Grob G 115E Tutor. With the help of a qualified RAF pilot, you will be able to take the controls of the Grob Tutor during flights from about 20-30 minutes. If you are feeling confident enough, you may be able to perform aerobatic manoeuvres including loops, barrel rolls and stall turns all whilst experiencing up to 6G!
Another way of taking to the skies through the Air Cadets is with gliding. Using our Grob Viking T1 gliders, you could experience a winch launch at one of the many Volunteer Gliding Squadrons (VGS) around the country.
The RAF often lets cadets experience what it’s like to sit in the back of military aircraft, such as the Chinook, Puma, and C17 Globemaster. Although not at the controls of the aircraft, sitting in the back of a military helicopter or aircraft provides a unique experience that is very different from commercial flights.
Occasionally the RAF may also choose to fly selected cadets in fast jets, such as the Hawk T2 at RAF Valley, or even, on one occasion, fly with the red arrows!
Flying and Gliding Scholarships
For those who show a passion for flight, and are over 16, there are a number of scholarship opportunities to apply for which can give you more time in the air and develop your skills as a pilot.
If you show the aptitude to complete a gliding scholarship, you will be invited to complete 40 winch launches in the Viking whilst learning about the theory and aerodynamics of glider flight. At the end of your scholarship, you will go solo and be awarded your silver ‘G’ wings.
If you excel at your gliding scholarship, you may be invited back as a Flight Staff Cadet appointed at a VGS. This allows you to assist at the VGS with flying operations as well as receive additional instruction, allowing you to complete your gold ‘G’ wings.
Air Cadet Pilot Scholarship
The most prestigious flying scholarship within the Air Cadets, the Air Cadet Pilot Scholarship (ACPS) takes 140 cadets a year to Tayside Aviation – a MOD-approved civilian flying school in Dundee – to receive 12 hours of flying instruction, culminating in a solo flight. The 12 hours count towards the hours needed to gain your Private Pilot’s License (PPL), potentially saving you thousands of pounds if you choose to get your Pilot’s License later in your life. By completing your solo, you will receive your gold ‘P’ wings.
Over-18 cadets can complete scholarships in the Grob Tutor. There are two types of scholarship available: The Pilot Navigation Training Scheme, culminating in the Silver ‘N’ wing and the Air Cadet AEF Course, which awards the Gold ‘P’ wings. These scholarships will focus more on aspects of service flying, ideal for cadets wishing to join as pilots in RAF.
Many external organisations offer flying scholarships to air cadets, principally the Royal Air Forces Association, whose top scholarship is a fully-paid 35-hour PPL course, at the end of which you will be a fully-licensed pilot. They also offer a 12-hour course to six runners-up.
Other organisations offering flying scholarships include the Air League, The Honourable Company of Air Pilots and the Fleet Air Arm Officers Association.
1015 has its own state-of-the-art virtual reality flight simulator which we use to train cadets how to fly, meaning you can get the maximum benefit from real flights. As one of only a handful of squadrons across the country with a simulator like ours, we aim to offer the best and most realistic experience possible (short of actually being in the air).
If you’re into aviation, the Air Cadets is the best place to get experience of it whilst having fun, as well as taking part in everything else we offer! If you want to join, please visit the Join Us page for more information.