When they make us do a fitness test, I’ll pay attention. Until then, it’s meaningless. No matter how it’s dressed up, we’re the air cadets, not the RAF.


If we were talking about the deployment of a EAW or the specifics of an int operation then I’d agree with you. But we’re talking about the option to have facial hair, and we all know that the reason is “because we’ve always done it that way”.


and discipline, which is after all, at the heart of any military based organisation.


Hygiene, discipline, CBRN.

Unless you’re in the jungle. Or Arctic.

You can’t operate to the same level with a self contained breathing unit and a gas tight suit. Hence respirators and charcoal lined suits.

Plus it means there will be all sorts of minging looking terrible beards and stupid facial hair styles.
Everyone looks the same, everyone treated to the same standard.

SF can do what they like, they have proven themselves, can be treated a bit more like adults and generally just crack their own. But for regular military, suck it up and crack on eh?


I think this discussion shows just how badly wrong we have got and get our priorities.
Of all the things that matter to the ATC hair and beards are at or should be at the bottom of the list in terms of priority.
There are far too many things wrong that because they are a bit big and or awkward to sort out get put at the back of the shelf or on top of the cupboard and pointless minor things like hair, beards and what uniform looks like get put front and centre, not helped because a clan of adult SNCOs who like to think that they are in the RAf get far too excited about these things and then visit squadrons or on large parades and like to play God. The SNCO on my sqn knows better than to say anything as they’ve seen me tell the WWO and Area WO to STFU and not criticise cadets on matters of dress.
We are none of us employed the by the RAF or MOD and they do not have any influence or sway on what pays our bills or secures success at school/education.
This is JUST A HOBBY and insignificant people rambling on about insignificant things, does little or nothing to make us look good to cadets, parents and even staff.

Before we get worried about people having beards or coloured hair or fashionable hairstyles or wearing make-up, let’s get cadets into aircraft on a one to one basis with a pilot, let’s have proper annual camps not niche faddy nonsense, let’s make this attractive to people to join to be adult staff and not rely on ex-cadets being cajoled to stay.

I’m only in my mid 50s and seen many hairstyles and fashions come and go (some of which we have had at home) which have been treated normally in the Corps and just because cadets and staff have adopted these to degress, but we just keep on going. Beards are a fad and will start to become less and less As I say much of the modern problem with too much emphasis on dress etc is because we have had the SNCO structure which has been mismanaged and allowed to polarise on one aspect of cadet life, while in the armed forces, the SNCOs are experts in their trade and not all required to focus drill / dress and we need to focus less on it.


We ARE the Scouts.

In case you hadn’t noticed we have become the Scouts over the last few years… except that they can do more than we can.

Sure, we can throw a Marching Band together and have some photos taken with various faux Olympic style torches, but that’s about it.


Are we saying that we should relax standards in order to keep numbers up? And then risk becoming “blue scouts”.


I am saying we should amend the standards because it is a reasonable thing to do.


In fact very few SNCOs are concerned with dress and discipline as an everyday defined taskeg. the SWOand his team, in the service.


That’s not what Teflon is seeming to say though.

Yes, getting cadets flying should be up there as a priority but dress, appearance, behaviour & attendance (at parade & events) are all factors which decide which of our Sqn’s cadets get to fill the limited flying places that are offered in the first place.

Also, you’ve got to ask why our members get asked to attend Mayoral Ceremonies etc. (raising funds & ACO profile). It’s not because they look like a bag of nails, that’s for certain.


Well everyone isn’t treated to the same standard though, are they? No one is allowed beards except for those who are. I’m not even going to get started on “everyone looking the same”.

Hygeine - non issue. What makes beards any less hygeinic than any other form of hair? If nothing else, shaving makes it more likely to get some sort of skin problem
Discipline. In what way?
CBRN. Which somehow doesn’t affect Sikhs and Muslims?


No we’re not

Bully for them - I don’t want to be a Scout Leader though - Air Cadets gave me my best teenage years so it’s them I’m giving back to.

Nail meet head


If they want to meet their deity rather more quickly then that’s their problem.


For once Teflon has hit the nail on the head and not the thumb of waffle. The RAF through HQAC seem to want to have their cake and eat it. You are a part of the RAF but you are not employees (P60 not withstanding). We value you so much we removed your VR commission. The Admin Burden Reduction Team worked so well they had to change the name.
Mostly the RAF do treat the RAFAC like the Air Scouts until they need the light blue footprint. Then they have a moan at our uniform standards but will not pay a proper uniform allowance and expect a No1 uniform to last 40 years and that 60 year old to be the same shape he was when he was 25.
The RAF need to decide what they want from the RAFAC. Either support and fund us properly or turn us into the Flying branch of the Marine and Sea Cadet Society so we can go to local flying and gliding clubs for our flying and not have to get TOPL for a stroll around the local countryside.


We decide locally on who does what when things are limited and not just on dress, there are whole range of factiors. I would sooner allow a cadet who puts in the effort to do things and not look brilliant, over the shiny button who does sod all.

As for attending parades etc and no disrespect intended, but the ACF are also present and in no way does their issue dress look smart, as it is effectively an overall. The uniform we have is only really evident on stations in the guardroom and admin areas. Anywhere people in the RAF are getting dirty it’s overalls or “DPM”.


It’s not really relaxing standards though. We can still maintain a standard of dress - if anyone fails to reach the required standard (CFAV or cadet), then there are mechanisms in place to prevent that person from wearing the uniform until such time as they get back up to speed.

I have 2 muslim NCOs who wear a beard for religious reasons - both look extremely smart in uniform. I can’t see why a beard would automatically make a cadet look scruffy?


You, me and everyone else who is CFAV is a helper in a youth organisation, just like Scout leaders. We are nothing special as individuals.

I know people my age and older who were scouts and now scout leaders, because it gave them experiences etc, just like I got from being a cadet. Not the same experiences. We have to lose the illusion that the ATC is something special, it may have been, but isn’t now. I know it, realise it and begrudgingly accept it. The clinging onto dress regulations from an organisation that pays it’s people and like with all employers, if they say you have to wear this or that and we will supply it, you are contractually obliged to do so. In the ATC we are not obliged contractually.


This is living the lie that the uniform really matters to people.
Do you think that many cadets or CFAV would bother?

Cadets are under pressure to get exam results to make their school looks good. Given that the ATC offers so little what is the driver to change?
As for CFAV, would they bother changing what would be the personal driver to change? We don’t get paid so that can’t be held against you. Some petulance from Wing or Region is not going to cut any ice with the vast majority. At the very least is they become CIs, so fall outside the uniform police’s gaze, or, they walk away and potentially use their knowledge and skills to benefit others.

In order to make something enforceable you need to have something tangibly detrimental to the individual. When you volunteer like we do, what exactly would be tangibly detrimental?


Respectfully I disagree.

We are not the scouts
~many of our units are our own, perhaps shared with the ACF but otherwise not shared spaces with the community, but our own space.*
~We get a uniform which we don’t have to pay for
~we get facilities, be it training areas, accommodation blocks, training rooms for free – and with a heavily subsided catering cost as and when appropriate to use them
~we get courses only otherwise available to military personnel
~we get expenses claimed back to us, be that HTD, F1771 relevant claims, while some even get pocket money via a F80
~we get vehicles either self-drive or driven to no cost to the individual or unit
~we meet twice a week
~we have a clear aviation theme to our efforts
~we have more paperwork than a lumberjack can believe – and a very different DBS process
~we have more processes in place to manage and run events
~we specialise is elements we (and by this I mean our seniors) fail to deliver
~we have formal dinners, dances and/or awards nights annually
~we implement news things all the time, reinventing the organisation, how we operate, how we work, what or how we delivery training and experiences to Cadets

On the flip side we have similarities
~we are both youth groups
~we both take boys and girls
~and both deal with teenagers
~we are both run (at the coal face at least) by volunteers
~we both have a uniform
~we both offer opportunities and experience harder to achieve without being part of a similar organisation
~we offer camps away, chances to make new friends, developing teamwork and leadership skills
~we both collect subs
~we meet in the evenings
~we both are a distraction from school pressures
~we both are subject to DBS and relevant “care” policies
~we are both old enough to say we have (great-)grandparents whose steps we are following in
~we both complete AT related training and provide the DEA scheme

but we are not the Scouts – we are both youth groups yes, both run by volunteer youth workers, but we are not the same

*I admit this is some cases is as much a negative reason as a positive, but it differentiates use from the shared Church hall/community hall many Scouts meet in.


There are differences, but do those make us better?
All the positives are in the bottom half.

I’m not entirely sure we reinvent the organisation or the other things and the Scouts don’t.
Many of our changes in recent years have been forced because of MOD/HQACs twitchy sphincter and as you say make things more awkward to run.