Were sure you’ve got it by now, but Air Cadets is not about taking it easy – its about seeing what you’re made of.
Camps get you out and about and give you a taste of what RAF personnel experience. They’re also some of the most enjoyable and memorable things you’ll do. Usually based around adventurous activities (especially fieldcraft), this is where you take control of your new abilities and put them to the test.
Your first taste will be weekend camps, run by your squadron. These allow time for more intensive training than during your regular meets, but can fit into a weekend and not interfere with school holidays. You could be doing all kinds of things like orienteering, over-night exercises or other specialised training.
Once you’re used to local camps you’ll want more. Every year, you’re given the opportunity to attend a camp on an operational RAF station. These camps last a week (normally Saturday to Saturday or Wednesday to Wednesday) with the purpose of getting you even closer to Service life. As an air cadet, you’ll fit right in.
You’ll sleep in RAF accommodation blocks, eat at the airmen’s mess and visit the various sections around the station. You’ll meet the base personnel, as well as take part in sports, quizzes, aircraft recognition competitions and any social activities which may be available. There will be drill, uniform and room inspections, and everything will earn points for you as an individual and for your team. Cadets over 16 may receive a work experience placement whilst on the camp where they see first-hand exactly what a job within the Royal Air Force involves.
Everyone will normally get a flight in one of the Air Experience Flight’s Tutor aircraft and being on an RAF station puts you in a perfect position to get opportunity flights on other aircraft which may have a few spare seats. Helicopter flight anyone?
Each RAF station has an Air Cadet Liaison Officer (ACLO) who will ensure that the camp runs smoothly and that you get support and as many opportunities to do things as possible.