About the ATC

The RAF Air Cadets offer young people exciting opportunities for personal and professional development. We’re an inclusive organisation that cares about helping young people reach their potential.

When did the ATC form?

On 5 February 1941, the Air Training Corps (ATC) was officially established, with King George VI agreeing to be the Air Commodore-in-Chief issuing a Royal Warrant setting out the Corps' aims. A new badge was designed for the ATC and once approved by the King, was distributed in August 1941.

Why did the ATC form?

The forerunner to the Air Training Corps (ATC) was the Air Defence Cadet Corps (ADCC), set up in 1938 by Air Commodore Chamier. The primary function was to train young men in various aviation-related skills. The ADCC proved popular, with thousands joining up. Within the first month of its existence, the size of the old ADCC, now the ATC, virtually doubled to more than 400 squadrons and continued to grow thereafter.

What did the new ATC squadrons do?

The new ATC squadrons adopted training programs to prepare young men for entry into the Royal Air Force. Squadrons arranged visits to RAF and Fleet Air Arm stations as part of the cadets' training, where a flight might be a possibility. Often the flights didn't happen, one solution was to introduce Air Experience Flights to increase opportunities for flying. This was to allow a cadet to get the feel of an aircraft in flight and to handle an aircraft's controls whilst airborne.

When were females allowed to join?

Before the 1980s, females were unable to join the ATC, although they were able to join an attached unit of the Girls Venture Corps (GVC) which had been formed in the early years of the Second World War, if one was available at their location.

What does the present day ATC look like?

The ATC together with the RAF contingents of the Combined Cadet Force make up the Royal Air Force Air Cadets. The RAF Air Cadets today is a modern and inclusive organisations that has over 50,000 cadets and adult volunteers who all enjoy all what the Air Cadets can offer.