Membership of 497 Squadron gives you access to a range of opportunities to fly with the Air Cadet Organisation, including exclusive access to aircraft operated by the Royal Air Force. Our ground-based training programme has strong focus on the key aspects of the principles of flight and aircraft operation. This prepares cadets for their flight training.
Flight training in the Air Cadets falls into 4 broad categories:
- Air Experience Flying in powered aircraft and gliders.
- Air Cadet Pilot & Navigation Schemes
- Flight Simulation
Some or a combination of these skills often assists cadets in seeking Flying Scholarships with the Services or Aviation-related institutes, guilds, associations and similar organisations.
Flying activities are governed by the rules and regulations set down by the relevant aviation authorities and accordingly many flying activities are subject to age restrictions, assessments of knowledge, skills, experience and/or medical fitness, all of which are essential to maintain your safety and those of others.
Relatively few restrictions apply to Air Experience Flying. All cadets aged 13 years, 3 months and over will normally be offered an air experience flight every year and if they attend an RAF camp, can usually expect a second opportunity. The Air Cadet Organisation has access to 12 Air Experience Flights, located around the country. It also owns the world’s largest glider fleet and cadets are able to undertake a range of progressively advanced Gliding Induction Courses from the same age point. Many Cadets are also able to develop and maintain their flying and gliding skills through increased access to a range of advanced and realistic flight simulators.
At the age of 16, most cadets who have demonstrated commitment and ability can be selected for glider training. If they have passed their gliding induction and meet certain criteria they can be awarded a Gliding Scholarships, where they have an opportunity to go ‘solo’ and learn advanced gliding techniques. Subject to certain academic and meeting other criteria, they can then qualify for the Air Cadet Pilot or Navigation Scheme, which includes a package of training and around 10 hours of specialist fight training on powered aircraft or microlights, which may also contribute toward an individual gaining their Private Pilot’s Licence.