The Air Cadet Organisation (ACO), better known as the ‘Air Cadets’, has more than
40,000 cadets between the ages or 12 and 20 in the UK.
The Royal Air Force sponsors the organisation and allows the organisation to give
its cadets a hands-on experience of activities and courses to challenge and develop
The Air Training Corps and Combined Cadet Force (RAF) make up the ACO. The ATC is
the RAF’s cadet force, divided into six regions, 36 wings and more than 900 Squadrons
within communities around the UK
The aims of the ACO are to:
Promote and encourage a practical interest in aviation and the Royal Air Force among
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.
The ACO does not recruit 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 are ex-cadets. It
has been shown they do better at basic training and stay in the Service longer than
their colleagues. If you chose a civilian career you can go onto great things research
has shown as employers love the skills and experience that the ACO offers. 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.