Below are some frequently asked questions about starting at 492. Questions were selected from a group of cadets/ NCO’s at the squadron, regarding answers they wish they’d had when joining the squadron. If you would like more information about joining, don’t hesitate to get in touch!


When do I get my uniform?
Uniform is usually given between 3-4 months of joining the squadron. Within 2 weeks you’ll be put into coveralls, and once you’ve proven that you’ll be staying with us, we’ll issue you full uniform, free of charge

Do I need to buy ‘greens’?
Whilst your standard uniform will be provided free of charge, ‘greens’ (combats, MTP/DPM) are not issued. Although it is not a requirement that you purchase them, it is highly recommended that you do so- many activities such as shooting, fieldcraft etc require you to have them, and you may find discounted, second-hand combats from army surplus stores

Where can I buy parade shoes and greens?
New shoes and greens can be purchased from: Cadet Direct and second-hand (often better) shoes and greens can be purchased from the recommended army surplus store: Ryders in Birmingham

How often do I need to attend?
Joining the air cadets is not like joining any youth club such as scouts, etc. You’re expected to attend every parade night/morning, especially as you initally join, as this will prove vital for your development

I’m worried I’ll be sacrificing school/ college in order to attend- should I really join?
This is a concern from many during GCSE/ A- Level exam season. The answer is - don’t worry! For many years we’ve had cadets who still attend during these busy months, and still perform outstandingly in their exams. See cadets as more of a break from revision!

I’m worried that I won’t be able to afford all the great camps/ opportunities that the air cadets can offer - what should I do?
At 492 we’re lucky to have great financial support for bursaries and camps that can be subsidised. Whilst usually cadets do pay for UK camps themselves, if any cadet/ family should find themself in financial difficulty, the squadron will have no problem subsidising any costs. Overseas camps are almost always subsidised heavily!

What if I’m bullied by an older cadet/ NCO?
The air cadets as an organisation has robust procedures to deal with bullying/ bad behaviour, and the procedures at 492 are no different. Should any cadet feel they are being victimised/ abused, then their concern will be escalated appropriately with senior staff when neccessary. Our older NCO’s and all staff members are trained to look out for signs of bullying, so there’s no need to worry about this!

When will I first get to go flying?
The reason many cadets join is due to the opportunity to go flying. The squadron receives around 50 places each year, with more on offer at annual camps in the summer. You won’t be flying when you join, but after passing through recruit training, you’ll be eligible to fly. Places are offered based on good attendance, great attitude and dedication to the squadron.