Frequently Asked Questions

This website should cover everything you need to know about getting in and getting on in the Air Cadets, but here are some quick-fire questions that we’re asked all the time. Who better to answer them than a cadet who’s in the know. Here’s 16-year-old ATC member Mikey George of 2160 (Sleaford) Squadron, Lincolnshire to give you some straight answers…

“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 joining is before your 17th birthday.

“How many times a week does the ATC meet?” We meet twice a week.

“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. I’m a tennis player and play saxophone and even with 13 GCSEs to study for I manage to fit it all in! Give it a go – the opportunities are fantastic…

“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?” It only costs about £2 a month to belong to the ATC which is 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 may 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 we’re all cadets we 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. Your local squadron staff will be happy to speak to you about this.