RAF Air Cadets
What we do

At 1039 (Gillingham) Squadron, we are delighted to be able to offer a wide range of activities for all our cadets, including flying and gliding, adventure training, shooting, sports and music. Our cadets are also able to participate in the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award scheme and work towards formal qualifications including BTECs.

On the squadron, we offer regular projects including aircraft modelling and marching band training. We also have our own flight simulator and we plan regular activities on parade nights including fieldcraft and orienteering.

The opportunities away from the squadron are just as exciting. The RAF Air Cadets offers regular weekend courses and competitions, including first aid training, radio communications and sports, and camps to RAF stations and adventure training sites as well as various locations overseas.

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Duke of Edinburgh’s Award

The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award is for everyone who likes a challenge – and every cadet at 1039 Squadron aged 14 or over will have the opportunity to take part.

The DofE mission is “to inspire, guide and support young people in their self-development, and recognise their achievements” and every participant will be taken through a programme of activities that will leave them a more confident, motivated and capable person.

Indeed, the RAF Air Cadets believe in the opportunities the DofE can provide so much they are proud to be the Award’s largest participant.

Our Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Officer is at hand to provide more information to interested cadets and get them started on the Award.

Flying and gliding

Two of the most popular activities offered to members of the RAF Air Cadets are flying and gliding. Every cadet will get opportunities to do both throughout their time with 1039 Squadron.

Flying in the RAF Air Cadets is offered through Air Experience Flights (AEFs). There are currently 12 AEFs across the country and 1039 Squadron is typically offered places at two AEFs, although cadets may be offered an opportunity to fly at a different AEF whilst on annual camp.

Whilst on an Air Experience Flight, cadets are taught basic flying and aerobatics by experienced pilots in the Grob Tutor, and more experienced cadets may also be taught to taxi, take off and land.

Gliding in the RAF Air Cadets is offered through Volunteer Gliding Squadrons (VGSs). VGSs are run at weekends by volunteers who dedicate their time to teach cadets.

In addition to regular flying and gliding opportunities, cadets may also apply for places on flying and gliding scholarships, which are week-long courses covering more advanced aspects of flying and gliding.


If you enjoy playing music, there may be a place for you on the squadron band.

Music is one of the most popular activities offered by the RAF Air Cadets, and you can get involved in playing a wide variety of instruments at squadron, wing and region level – and if you are really talented you might even find yourself playing for the National Concert Band, performing at a host of prestigious venues including Buckingham Palace.

Instruments you could end up playing include saxophones, bugles, trombones, drums and basses – and whether you are a complete beginner or have been playing for years, we’ll help you learn and perform to the very best of your ability.

Playing with the RAF Air Cadets can also lead to a BTEC First Diploma in Music, which is equivalent to 4 GCSEs.


Shooting has been a popular and important RAF Air Cadet activity for many years, and requires discipline, focus and skill.

All cadets are taught how to handle a wide variety of weapons safely before they are given the opportunity to put their training into practice in a controlled environment. All of the weapons are fired from the “prone position”, with cadets lying on their stomachs, although ranges vary in distances of between 25m and 100m or even more.

Cadets can earn marksmanship qualifications through their skill and accuracy and the very best can take part in competitions against cadets from other squadrons within the RAF Air Cadets.


The RAF Air Cadets encourages all cadets to take part in the seven main sports activities on offer and organises frequent competitions in athletics, cross country running, football, rugby, hockey, netball and swimming.

1039 Squadron regularly participates in inter-squadron competitions organised by Kent Wing. The best cadets are then selected to represent Kent in the inter-wing competitions organised by London and South East Region (L&SER). The best cadets there are chosen to represent L&SER in the inter-region competitions. The very best cadets are then given the chance to represent the RAF Air Cadets nationally and even internationally.

Sports are also a good way of building friendships and fostering self-discipline and teamwork among cadets whilst encouraging a healthy lifestyle.


In addition to the extensive opportunities available to our cadets, members of the RAF Air Cadets can also study towards formal qualifications which will impress on any CV.

Together with the Cadet Vocational Qualifications Organisation (CVQO), the RAF Air Cadets can offer cadets BTEC qualifications in subjects including Aviation Studies, Music for Practical Performance and Teamwork and Personal Development in the Community.

Adult volunteers can also gain qualifications in Education and Training, and Leadership and Management.

First Aid

Staff at 1039 Squadron are qualified to instruct the St John's Ambulance Essential First Aid programme, and carry out the assessments. Essential First Aid covers basic, yet life-saving, skills, including assessing an unconscious patient, performing CPR, dealing with choking, serious bleeding and helping someone who may be having a heart attack.

In addition to Essential First Aid, cadets are offered the opportunity to undertake more advanced first aid courses accredited by St John’s Ambulance. Successful completion of this course will result in the cadet being awarded a certificate by St John’s Ambulance.

Cadets over the age of 16 and adult volunteers may also undertake either the more in-depth Activity First Aid course.

01634 854363


Joint Cadet Centre
Watling Street

Monday 18:45 to 21:30
Friday 18:45 to 21:30

Copyright © 1039 (Gillingham) Squadron 2024

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