Who are the Air Cadets?

The Air Cadets, officially known as the ATC (Air Training Corps), is a national adventure youth organisation, run by highly qualified volunteers, for boys and girls between the ages of 12 (year 8) to 20 years, with support from the RAF. What it isn’t is a youth club! All meetings and activities are planned in advance and although not strictly part of the RAF, our organisation, structure and uniforms broadly mirror the RAF.

With almost 40,000 cadets, within nearly 1,000 Squadrons, the ATC is one of the country’s premier youth organizations and the world’s largest youth air training organization. The Cadets are supported by a volunteer staff of over 12,000 plus 5,000 Civilian Committee Members.

What do the Air Cadets offer?

It offers the chance to fulfil your potential as a confident, self-disciplined and articulate young man or woman. It is for this reason that it is often commented upon that cadets, upon leaving the Air Cadets to embark on their chosen career or higher education, stand out amongst the crowd. Additionally, a well earned BTEC in Aerospace Studies and the highly respected Bronze, Silver and Gold Duke of Edinburgh Awards are all recognised by potential employers.

Note, the BTEC Award has been withdrawn and is currently being re-written with the Pearson exam body, which we hope will be available to cadets soon

How old do I have to be to join?

The age limits for 146 Squadron are currently 12 (Year 8) if joining in March and 13 (Year 9) if joining in October.  The upper age to join is 17 years old.

These age limits help us align with other external bodies, such as the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award

Once joined, cadets can stay until they turn 20 years old

How often do the Air Cadets meet and for how long?

Northwich Squadron meets every Tuesday and Friday, from 7:15PM – 9:30PM. For the first 18 weeks, new cadets will also meet on Sundays, between 10PM and 12PM

Once graduated from First Class, cadets will regularly parade on Tuesdays and Fridays, 7:00PM – 9:45PM.

What if I already have existing commitments that clash?

We always recommend to anyone with other existing commitments, that they come along for the first few weeks and see how they get on.  There is no initial firm commitment to the Air Cadets, financially or otherwise, for the first two weeks from joining, so nothing lost if you come down when you can for a few weeks and see how it goes, before making a final decision.

How much does it cost?

For the first two weeks of joining, there is no cost or commitment, the second two weeks are also free, however, a refundable £50 uniform deposit is required at this point.  If you decide to continue after the first four weeks, the cost will then be £22 per calendar month when paid by direct debit.

Some camps and activities are at extra cost, but normally heavily subsidised. A week away costs on average £50-60.

Will I need to buy my own uniform?

You will be provided with all uniform free of charge, we do request a £50 deposit however, to ensure its safe return once a cadet leaves the Squadron. Cadet parade shoes, which do not have to be bought straight away, are ordered separately and cost £30

What are the aims of the Air Cadets?

The Air Cadets has three main aims, they 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 in civil life.
  • To foster the spirit of adventure and to develop the qualities of leadership and good citizenship.

What will I do as an Air Cadet?

The Air Cadets has lots to offer you – the sky is the limit – literally!

The following list is not complete but for starters how about:-

  • Adventure Training including climbing, mountaineering, water sports, mountain biking
  • Target shooting and marksmanship skills
  • Marching band musician
  • Cyber and radio
  • Leadership and teamwork
  • Sports, including hockey, netball, football, rugby, cross-country, canoe polo
  • Visiting and/or staying at RAF bases
  • Opportunities to travel to overseas units
  • BTEC in Aerospace Studies, Music and Teamwork and Personal Development in the Community
  • Duke of Edinburgh Awards
  • Limited flying opportunities (see below)

How often do Air Cadets fly?

Do to various operational limitations, it is likely cadets will only fly once or twice during their time at the Squadron.  Demand unfortunately far outweighs the number of opportunities provided to the organisation.

The Squadron has invested heavily in flight simulator equipment and has a dedicated room for this, along with trained senior cadets able to instruct.  Although this is not a full replacement for real flying, it does provide a great experience and real aviation training

Older cadets have the chance to apply for gliding and flying scholarships, where they will spend several weekends, or a whole week, being trained to solo standard in an aircraft.  However, these are very limited (sub 10 places for cadets in our area of around 1000 cadets per year).

How can I find out more?

Simply visit, call or complete the contact form on the Join Us page. Visit the Contact Details page for further information

What does the 146 motto “Percutit Insidians Pardus” mean?

It is Latin for “The Watchful Panther Strikes”

Teamwork and Personal Development in the Community

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