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The Royal Air Force

The CCF (RAF), along with the Air Training Corps (ATC), forms the Royal Air Force Air Cadets (RAFAC). The CCF (RAF) is the RAFAC section of the Combined Cadet Force. There are 230 RAF Sections with approximately 9000 cadets and 700 adult volunteers. The CCF (RAF) aims to offer an exciting and challenging cadet experience, based around flying and aviation and so inspire young people to learn and develop new skills.

The Royal Air Force Air Cadets’ aims are to:

  • Promote and encourage a practical interest in aviation and the Royal Air Force among young people
  • Provide training which will be useful in the Services and civilian life
  • Encourage the spirit of adventure and develop qualities of leadership and good citizenship

Membership of the CCF (RAF) is exciting, rewarding and above all fun. You'll discover skills you never knew you had, do things and visit places you never thought you would, and meet lots of like-minded people who will become your team-mates and friends.

You’ll also have the opportunity to challenge yourself with adventurous training, be selected to represent your country or school on the International Air Cadet Exchange programme, or develop your potential on the Air Cadet Leadership Course. You can really shine as a cadet.

Every year the CCF (RAF) provides cadets with approximately 36 flying scholarships, with every cadet having the opportunity to have at least one flying lesson with a qualified RAF pilot.

Some of the key CCF activities such as first aid, navigation, leadership and drill will be undertaken by cadets from all sections of the CCF, however each service will also have specialist activities. The RAF Section provides opportunities to attend a host of activities, course and camps, including:

  • Aviation and aerospace
  • STEM, synthetics and virtual reality
  • Cyber
  • Qualified Aerospace Instructor Course, which aims to deliver an exciting programme of aerospace related activities for senior cadets including: Aerodynamics, Air Power Air Traffic Control, Instructional Techniques, Aerospace Activity Planning, Aviation Studies, Practical Flight & Navigation Training. The course takes place over a series of weekends from September to April, culminating in a week long graduation camp.
  • Camps
    • RAF Station
    • Multi-activity
    • Aerospace
    • Drill and Ceremonial
    • Band
    • Music
    • Adventurous Training

Key Activities available for RAF cadets

It’s our aim to get you airborne as often as possible, as a passenger in a light aircraft, a glider or even on-board RAF aircraft such as our Atlas transport aircraft or a Chinook helicopter.

Every air cadet gets the opportunity to have a flight each year with the Air Experience Flight (AEF). You'll join a long list of cadets going back over 50 years – including royalty - who have benefited from this fantastic experience. The first AEFs were formed in 1958 and flew the classic DeHavilland Chipmunk which served faithfully for almost 40 years until it was replaced by the Scottish Aviation Bulldog.

Recently, it's the Grob Tutor that has become the aircraft of choice. It has great visibility from its large canopy and is agile enough to allow it to perform full aerobatics. You'll soon feel right at home in the Tutor and hungry for more flight time.

Prove that you have the aptitude for flying and you could bag yourself a prestigious flying scholarship. There are several scholarships available to air cadets each year. These are sponsored by the Royal Aero Club, the Air League Educational Trust, the RAF Charitable Trust, the Geoffrey DeHaviland Foundation, Babcock Defence Services, the RAF Association and the Honourable Company of Air Pilots incorporating Air Navigators.

For many cadets these courses are the stepping stone to their PPL - Private Pilots’ Licence - and potentially a career as a pilot with the RAF, the Royal Navy, Army or commercial airlines.

Some cadets achieve their PPLs before they even get their driving licence, so the sky really is the limit!

Whatever level you are as a cadet, you'll have the opportunity to try your hand at military skills and drills. Marksmanship goes a long way back in the history of RAF Air Cadets and is one of our most popular activities. Think you can concentrate on distant targets and fire with consistent accuracy? It's not easy. It requires focus, agility and a very steady hand.

We’ll teach you to handle a variety of weapons safely. Progress through the course and you'll experience different types of weapons and could even take part in shooting competitions if you really prove your skills.

Ranges come in different shapes and sizes but all are in controlled conditions with full training on any weapon that you handle - safety is our top priority. To start with you'll be firing at targets that are fairly close - around 25m away. As you advance through weapons and your skill builds, you will fire at targets at 100m away, or further!

Leadership includes both the duties of a team member or follower and that of the leader. Everyone will initially learn how to be an effective team member, as through life you will normally be a team member, even if you are also leading a team. Then, as you become more experienced as a cadet, you'll take on extra responsibilities and have further opportunities to develop your self-confidence and leadership skills. All CCF (RAF) cadets take part in command tasks, fieldcraft, drill and other exercises designed to develop teamwork and leadership. Formal leadership training will test your mettle, but this is where you can really find out your strengths and build your abilities in any weaker areas! There are three levels of formal leadership training. These are:

  • Contingent Leadership Courses - Most Contingents run their own short internal leadership courses for older cadets, or grouped with other local contingents, aimed at training potential Junior NCOs (Corporals and Lance Corporals) and Senior NCOs (Sergeants and above). This will help to develop individuals to become effective leaders and if that includes you, you could improve your rank. These may be single-service led or run jointly across all the sections in the Contingent.
  • Cadet Leadership Courses - There are three sets of Cadet Leadership Courses, which are aimed at 16- and 17-year-olds. Each course lasts a week and ends with the award of the Cadet Leadership Badge if completed. The RN runs the RN cadet leadership course over one week in August at BRNC Dartmouth. The Army Cadet Force (ACF) runs three courses over the Easter period at Nesscliffe in Shropshire and three courses in July at Frimley Park in Surrey. Sea Cadets also take part along with Army Cadets, so be ready for some serious competition! The RAF Air Cadets runs 4 Air Cadet Leadership Courses at RAF Cranwell each July/August. Cadets on the Air Cadet Leadership Course are eligible to undertake the Institute of Leadership and Management Level 3 Certificate in Team Leadership.
  • The RAF Air Cadet Junior Leaders' Course. Not for the faint-hearted, the Junior Leaders Course is physically demanding and requires real commitment and determination. The course, which runs from September to Easter, involves nine weekend training camps and an assessment week. A big step up from the Cadet Leadership Courses, the Junior Leaders Course is aimed at older cadets - you must be 17 or older in the year you begin the course. It's also open to Sea Cadets and Army Cadets and culminates in the award of a Level 3 Certificate in Team Leadership from the Institute of Leadership and Management. This is the toughest but most rewarding of our leadership courses - make it through and you'll have the makings of a very successful leader.