So, are you ready to take the first step towards all the opportunities and benefits that the air cadets can offer you?

It's important to know that we're not a recruiting organisation for the Services (but it's great if you decide you want to join later on). We're not interested in anything but you and your potential, and will help you get the most from your experience as a cadet.

Worried about fitting in? Equality is a central part of the Air Cadets’ ethic. The cadet experience is open to everyone, so whatever your nationality, background or ability, whether you're male or female, if you're between 13, or aged 12 if you're already in year 8 or equivalent at school, and 17 years old you can join us. 


Whats in it for you?

Aside from flying, sports, target shooting, adventure training and great fun? You’ll soon find that being an air cadet is its own reward - you constantly see the benefits of your own efforts, building on your achievements and earning BTECs and DoE Awards. You'll be expected to take part in as many of the activities we run as possible, but with what's on offer you won't need much persuading! 


We have high standards to maintain as we are a 'military' youth organisation and you'll naturally take pride in your uniform (we supply that) and appearance. You'll be well mannered and self-disciplined. You'll be joining an organisation of which you’ll be very proud.

What are you waiting for!


We normally have two recruit intakes per year. If you are interested in joining us for our next intake please fill out our application form. We will then be in contact to invite you along to the squadron to have a look around and meet the staff. If you like what you see we will then ask you to join us on our next recruitment date. 

Frequently asked questions

hopefully you have all the information you need to know about joining the Squadron, but here are some quick-fire questions that we're asked all the time. 


What sort of activities do the air cadets do?

We get to do a huge variety of activities such as flying, gliding, target shooting, adventure training, sports, camps, drill, academic studies and lots of other things. There's never a dull moment.


How old must I be to join?

You can join when you're between 13, or 12 if you're already in year 8 at school, and usually leave when you're 20. 


How many times a week does the ATC meet?

We meet twice a week. Friday evenings and Sunday mornings. We do have extra activities on different nights of the week if you want to try something extra, such as Band Practice on Mondays and Canoeing on Wednesdays in the Summer


How long does an Air Cadet session last as I have homework and other commitments?

Our parades are normally 3 - 3 1/2 hours long This gives you plenty of time to complete homework and to deal with other commitments. We have cadets that have other comitment such as football training or music lessons as well as studying for exams and they manage to fit it all in! Give it a go - the opportunities are fantastic...


Is there a good balance between the exciting activities and more serious disciplined activities?

Yes, there are lots of opportunities to do fun activities as well as the more serious side of things, but the focus is always on enjoying yourself while improving your skills.


What sort of expeditions can be done through the Air Cadets?

There are a huge amount of expedition opportunities, some overseas, but the most well known and popular option is the Duke of Edinburgh Award which entails overnight expeditions. They're great fun. But there are lots of other expeditions that pop up regularly.


How much does it cost?

There's a small subscription to cover the running costs which is £2.50 per week making it great value for money considering what you get out of it (you have to pay this wether you attend or not). You can pay weekly or set up automatic payments through a bank.


Do I have to buy my own uniform? If so, does it cost a lot?

No, the uniform is free (there is a small refundable deposit) but you have to look after it. You may have to buy your own shoes though!


Is it easy to get on with people and make new friends?

Yes! Everyone is very friendly and you always feel welcome. As we’re all cadets we have loads in common.


How often do you get to go flying?

You can go at least once a year but as some cadets focus on other activities sometimes you can fly much more frequently, it’s fantastic!


What about disabled people - can they join?

Absolutely! You are very welcome providing you can take part in a reasonable number of activities and as long as your disability does not cause you safety problems. Your local squadron staff will be happy to speak to you about this.


Great visit to Southend Sqn tonight, possibly one of the largest number I have seen at one Sqn in one go. Impressive!

1312 (Southend-on-Sea) Squadron ATC

57 Eastwoodbury Crescent




Call us on     01702 530559

Or e-mail us


Parade Times:     Friday: 19:15 to 21:30; Sunday: 09:50 to 12:30

Officer Commanding:     Squadron Leader C Byford RAFVR(T)

Air Commodore Dawn McCafferty RAFR

Commandant Air Cadets