The Air Cadet Organisation

The Air Cadet Organisation (ACO), better known as the 'Air Cadets', is a UK-wide cadet force with more than 40,000 members aged between 13 and 20 years.

The ACO is sponsored by the Royal Air Force and is a training organisation that gives cadets hands-on experience of activities and courses that will help challenge and develop their skills.

The ACO is made up of two areas:

Air Training Corps - The ATC is the RAF's cadet force, divided into six Regions, each region has five or six Wing and there are than 900 Squadrons within communities around the UK.

Combined Cadet Force (RAF) - The CCF (RAF) is our section of the CCF which is made up of cadets from all three services, coming together in approximately 200 independent and state schools across the country

The ACO has three key aims and these are to: 

  • Promote and encourage a practical interest in aviation and the Royal Air Force among young people
  • Provide training which will be useful in the Services and civilian life
  • Encourage the spirit of adventure and develop qualities of leadership and good citizenship

We are not a recruiting organisation for the RAF, but if you're thinking about a Service career, cadet membership will put you ahead of the competition. Many cadets go on to great success in the RAF (and the other Services). Around 40% of officers and 50% of all aircrew (including pilots, navigators and engineers) in the RAF now are ex-cadets.

Research shows that they do better in basic training and stay in the Service longer than their colleagues. Likewise, if you chose a civilian career our research proves you can go on the great things…employers just love the skills and experience that air cadets offer.

Let's face it - where else would you be given the opportunity to fly solo in a glider or powered aircraft when you're 17? Whatever you do with your life, at the end of your time as a cadet you'll be self-motivated, confident and ready for anything.