What we do

Flying and Gliding

The ATC is the cadet organisation of the Royal Air Force, so naturally we give our cadets the opportunity to go flying in powered aircraft and gliding in gliders. For most people, “flying” means going on holiday; they never take control of an aircraft themselves. Cadets at 216 do just that on their very first flight. The pilot will taxi out, take off, find clear air space… then it’s your turn.

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 on-board RAF aircraft such as our Typhoon fast-jet or a Chinook helicopter.


And what an experience! As a cadet you’ll have the chance to fly with the best – RAF pilots.

Air Experience Flight (AEF) instructors are all current or former RAF service pilots who volunteer to pass on their knowledge and enthusiasm for flying to you. Our main flying takes place at RAF Cosford with No 8 Squadron AEF. You’re shown how the aircraft flies and given the chance to control it and experience aerobatics. The views from 3,000ft are stunning.

We try to make sure every Air Cadet gets the opportunity to have a flight each year. 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.


Imagine floating along thermal air currents with just the sound of wind rushing past your aircraft. You’re over 2,000ft in the air and you have the controls of an 8 metre long aircraft in your hands. It’s a buzz, and one of the biggest reasons our cadets join up.

The aircraft we use allow your first steps to flying to be totally exhilarating. They’re an integral part of the cadet experience, designed to get you trained, confident and ready for solo flying. If you have a talent for flying we’ll spot it.

Your gliding experience kicks off at a Volunteer Gliding Squadron (VGS) on our Part Task Trainers. These are full simulators to give you an idea of the basics of flying. Once you’ve completed this you’ll get a chance to go up in a glider. Your focus, along with others from the squadron will be to complete the Gliding Induction Course (GIC).

Designed to give you a taste for Air Cadet Gliding, the GIC consists of three levels of instruction. On your first visit you’ll be taught the GIC 1. Later visits will cover GIC 2 and 3. In these levels you’ll learn all about aerodynamics and controlling the aircraft, first in a classroom, then taking control and practicing what you’ve learned in the air. After you completed each course, you’ll be awarded your gliding wings!