What is the University Air Squadron?
University Air Squadron? What’s that I hear you say. I had no idea either before a friend of mine enlightened me. An RAF flying club that I could join at university and learn to fly for FREE as well as go skiing, climbing, shooting and so much more. Sign me up.
UAS is one of the most rewarding and unbelievable opportunities you can be a part of at university. Read on to find out why and how to apply!
What is it?
The University Squadron is a unique chance for university undergraduates to sample RAF life. This means, flying, force development, adventurous training and and so many other opportunities. The main role is to attract ambitious and intelligent students into a career as an RAF officer, but joining us doesn’t necessarily mean you have to join the RAF or become a pilot. Nearly all universities have an affiliated air squadron.
What do you do?
It’s quite hard to sum up all the things you can do on the squadron and be a part of in a short blog post, but i’ll give it a go.
Learn to fly - FOR FREE with some of the best instructors on the planet. This is no joke, our Squadron Leader was a Red Arrow #goals.
Flying training is conducted on the Grob 115E ‘Tutor’, a modern carbon-fibre aircraft thats really good fun to fly. The core flying syllabus of 31 sorties (flights) loosely follows that of RAF Elementary Flying Training and students generally fly ten to fifteen hours per year. Depending on your uni hours a week, you can bid to fly as much as you want, depending on what’s available. You can also progress to the ‘advanced’ syllabus, during which you will be trained to do solo aerobatics, solo close-formation and solo low-level navigation. Sound like fun?
Adventure training - You have the opportunity to gain qualifications in almost every sport out there, sailing, climbing, kayaking, skiing, mountaineering this list is endless. It’s down to yourself and the other officer cadets to organise adventure training trips, and no they don’t have to be in the UK. So long as it’s within budget and you can make it happen, it’s a goer.
Charity - Charity is a huge part of the squadron. Each year we nominate a chosen military charity and the aim is to raise as much money as possible. This can be through what ever creative way you can think of, sporting events, Nijmegen is an annual one, 3 peaks, street collections and charity events.
Military Experience - There are so many things that come up that you can be a part of whilst on the squadron. The chance to fly in some incredible aircraft, chinooks, C17s, I knew one guy that got in a Hawk. Station visits, military events, airshows, flying out military base. You also go on training camps at various RAF bases within the UK. These consist of ground training, weapons handling and force development training. For someone that is thinking about the military as an option, it’s a secret preview into what life could be like.
Town Night - The whole squadron meets every week for training or “Town” Night. Here you’ll have weekly presentations and lectures from military personel you wouldn’t get the chance to meet in normal life. You’ll also do training, discuss current affairs, plan for upcoming charity events and adventure training.
Sport - There is also a lot of inter-squadron sports events and annual events between all 14 squadrons. You have the chance to represent your squadron in football, hockey, swimming, rowing, running just to name a few. All of the points over the year go towards winning the ultimate sporting prize, the Commandant's Cup!
Why should I join?
You will do things and meet people you wouldn’t meet anywhere else. You don’t have to come from a military background (I don’t), you don’t need to have any flying experience (I didn’t), all you need is the enthusiasm to join a fantastic group of like minded, ambitious and adventurous people . If you’re the kind of person that likes a challenge, has even the smallest interest in flying and the military, go to your freshers fair and sign up!
Some people stay on the squadron for one year, some up to three. It depends on what you are wanting to get out of it and what you put in. If you then whilst you’re on there decide you want to join the RAF, you have the most connected and knowledgable people to help make that happen. Some of my friends got full RAF pilot scholarships, some went on to be medics, some engineers and some decided that they wanted to be commercial pilots.
How do I join?
You need to visit the UAS stand at your freshers fair to apply. If you’re unsure if you university has one scroll down to the next bit and there is a link you can click to find yours.
If you decide to apply to the UAS, you’ll need to meet certain RAF criteria and fitness levels. You can find out more on these by hitting the button below.
If your application is successful you’ll then be invited to an interview. It’s not an easy selection process, but then nothing great ever is.
You’ll be interviewed by one of the senior staff on the squadron, mine was the very tall CFI Chief flying instructor, not intimidating at all…
They want to see your passion and enthusiasm, for adventure, for working in a team and what you know about the military.
After this there is a fitness test to pass but it’s not too difficult if you’re an active person!
If you pass everything, and get the call you’ve been accepted, you’ve just joined the best club you possibly could at university. I promise you won’t regret it
Does my university have one?
Most universities have an associated squadron. Click on a crest below or click the find button if you’re unsure!
If you have any further questions please do send me a message via my contact page. Happy flying!!!