Joining the Air Cadets opens up lots of opportunities, including the chance to fly! It’s our aim to get you airborne as often as possible, as a passenger in a light aircraft, a glider or even onboard RAF aircraft such as our Typhoon fast-jet or a Chinook helicopter.
Flying at the air cadets
Throughout the year, 344 is allocated flying slots for air cadets. As long as you are a first class cadet (learn more about the air cadet class system here) you are able to take part in the flying opportunities that the air cadets facilitates. Air Experience Flights use a Grob Tutor light aircraft.
When you reach the age of 16, you will be eligible to apply for a flying scholarship. This is a one-week long course where you accumulate hours flying and build up to a solo-flight. There are several scholarships available to air cadets each year which are sponsored by various charities and trusts. For many cadets, these courses are the stepping stone to their Private Pilots’ Licence - and potentially a career as a pilot with the RAF, the Royal Navy, Army or commercial airlines.
Some cadets achieve their private pilots' license before they even get their driving licence
Gliding at the air cadets
Air cadets also facilitates gliding experiences. The aircraft that cadets will use is called the Viking T1 which has no engine and the main method of getting airborne is via a winch-launch - a cool experience in its own right. A steel cable, up to 1,500 metres long is pulled and wrapped around a drum by a powerful turbo engine. It winds slowly at first and then (when the winch operator receives the "all out" signal) at high speed, allowing the glider to catch the wind and launch upwards.
The air cadets also facilitates gliding scholarships.
See more about recent flying opportunities that 344 has done http://www.theaircadets.co.uk/344-squadron-activities-over-the-summer/