Is it a good idea to join cadets?

Is it a good idea to join Air Cadets at the age of 12 (nearly 13) and I am in Year 8. I don’t really know if it is a good idea. Being a pilot in the RAF has always been my dream job and I have wanted to join cadets since I was 10.

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Short answer: yes.

Long answer: we’d need to know more about what you’re unsure about.


Always wanted to be a pilot, been fascinated by aviation since i was a kid.

However, eyesight was a factor.

The cadets helped me to get an apprenticeship in the aviation sector, and i had a 25yr career as an engineer.

Others have joined, and pursued other careers, using the knowledge and experience they gained in the ATC.


I wouldn’t know anyone and I’d feel a bit unsure if I’d get picked on since I’m 12. And I’m not the sort of person that’s good at making friends.

The joining age is 12, and most squadrons operate a recruit flight so you’d join with others who are also new to the Air Cadets.
As for getting picked on or bullied, we have a zero tolerance policy and so would be swiftly delt with if it did happen.


You can join at 12 but there is no real disadvantage to joining at 13 or even in year 9, if you want. I usually find that cadets who join a bit older catch up quickly.

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Thanks does it matter on my physical capability? As in do I have to know how to do a specific number of push-ups/sit-up’s/planks.

I would say yes. RAFAC can give you so many great skills for life and give you many experinces you wouldn’t anywhere else. And yes it will help you if you want to be a pilot by giving you a taste of it very early on.

As for getting picked on, if it did happen you would only need to report it and it would stop immedialtey. We operate on a Zero Tolerance policy and it will not stand. As for making friends I have found most people in cadets to be friendly and more than willing to make friends, especially within recruit flights or groups. For me cadets was one of the first places I found a large group of likeminded people and I hope you can have the same at your local squadron.


No, not at all, there’s a huge array of different activities you can take part in with the Air Cadets, just approach it all with an open “can do” attitude and find what you enjoy.


Thanks so much it’s just I’m not the sort of sporty person. I realistically only do 1 push-up and I know that isn’t that good. I need to improve my physical health and i hope Cadets can help.

I was never the sporty type when I joined many years ago. Was never one to do PE at school or play footie in the park etc. But since joining I found a love for things like climbing and mountaineering. I still dislike taking part in most sport, but at least now I’ve got something that I find interesting that keeps me fit!


I’m the same.
As above, there’s no fitness requirement to join the air cadets.

Some activities will need a level of fitness, but they’re all optional (and you’ll probably still be fine!)

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Thank you so much. You have helped me convince my mum and I will be starting after may half term.


The ATC is exactly the place for you to find new friends, do some fun stuff and grow in confidence. Take a leap of faith and give it a go, within a few months you will be wondering what all the worry was about. The ATC is for types of people, you will find your place and be part of a great organisation.