Take flight and learn some lifelong lessons

St Andrews Air Cadets at Leuchars Station
St Andrews Air Cadets at Leuchars Station

After an enjoyable summer St Andrews Air Cadets is looking for more youngsters to join its ranks.

The squadron, which has been located in City Road since 1964, offers a range of exciting and fun activities, whilst also teaching important life skills.

St Andrews Air Cadets at Leuchars Station

St Andrews Air Cadets at Leuchars Station

Warrant Officer Mark McLaughlin has been involved with the group for 20 years, and said there is lots for any prospective cadet to look forward to.

“We meet two nights a week and at weekends, and occasionally go on week long camps which we did over the summer,” he said.

“An average night though, consists of a little bit of drill and work on some of the academic syllabus. For every exam that a cadet passes, they get a badge.”

Mark described the different exercises that the cadets, who can join at aged 12 and stay until they are 18, can take part in.

St Andrews Air Cadets at Leuchars Station

St Andrews Air Cadets at Leuchars Station

“There are different projects they can do. We also provide leadership training, organise sporting activities, and arrange climbing, hillwalking, kayaking and mountain biking.

“Once a cadet turns 18 they can stay on for another two yearadertss after that as a staff or adult cadet.”

Cadets will also have projects to complete, which can be anything from writing a squadron newsletter to planning an expedition for a Duke of Edinburgh award.

And of course, being Air Cadets they also get to glide and fly!

“New cadets will be first in line to get half an hour of flying in a light aircraft with experienced pilots - who will fly them upside down!”

The squadron will also occasionally join up with other cadets, as they did at Leuchars Station last week.

“We joined squadrons from Cupar and Leuchars and had a chap from the RAF outward bound team come along and he ran the cadets through exercises.

“It brings the cadets out of themselves and hopefully teaches them teamwork. That’s a big aspect of what we do.”

Despite all the fun on offer the group’s numbers are low and Mark is hoping new members will join.

“We have 10 at the moment but should have 25-30, but we’re always recruiting and trying to get more cadets to get involved.

“I must stress that we are not a recruiting tool for the Air Force - there’s no pressure at all to do that. But if a cadet decides that’s the way they want to go we can offer them some guidance.”

Mark, who is one of many volunteers helping run the squadron says that it is busy, but rewarding.

“As they get older you think back to when they first joined and as you see them going off to university you do get a sense of achievement in that maybe something that the organisation provided has made a difference to them.

“We instil a certain amount of self discipline and hopefully they can take that on to their later life.”

For more information or to join up, visit the Air Cadet website at www.raf.mod.uk/aircadets/