RIAT 2020 - Commandant's Letter

In short, don’t expect any “Commandant’s Letter” (for time off school) to be linked to the RIAT application. Too busy / under-staffed…

Timescale is getting tight, so the suggestion from the organiser is to write a sqn letter with suitable wording.

I’ve drafted a super-speedy version so our cadets can seek permission if needed. If you need one pronto, feel free to adapt / ignore as required!

Dear Headteacher,


…………………………… (pupil name), a pupil at your school and Air Cadet with XXXX Sqn, Air Training Corps has been offered the opportunity of a place at the Royal International Air Tattoo Camp from 11 July 2020 to 24 July 2020 (main camp 16 July – 21 July). As this activity is programmed during term-time, I am writing this letter to endorse the activity and support the request to attend. This activity is endorsed by the Commandant of the Air Training Corps, Air Commodore Dawn McCafferty CBE RAFR.

The camp is not a basic camp where the cadets would learn squad drill, do leadership exercises or field craft. This is an extraordinary camp in the fact that it caters for a very wide audience amongst the younger generation with many STEM activities from major organisations such as British Aerospace, Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Martin Baker, Airbus, GCHQ and numerous other companies. Our Air Cadet Region only has to opportunity to bid for places every 2 years; the next availability will be in 2022.

The cadets will be associating / working with aircrew from around the world enabling them to experience their cultures / working environment and learning to understand what it takes to become a pilot or other aircrew.

The cadets will also have the opportunity to meet dignitaries of different countries and project a positive image of today’s youth. Furthermore, there are specific “enhanced’ areas for cadet development, such as logistics, media, communications, and IT.

I would be very grateful if you could agree to release …………………………… (pupil name) from school to attend the camp.

Yours sincerely


s/Commandant Air Training Corps/Commandant RAF Air Cadets/

(bonus points if anyone recognises that syntax for making a change to a post!)


Last year’s letter had “Air Training Corps” in the text. :wink:

Of course it would

You are showing your age if you use that in online conversations :smiley:

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I’d need to have received notification of places to be able advertise this to my cadets… but nothing has come down yet other than all regions are invited this year as they struggled last year :man_facepalming:

Well spotted. I learned it on CiX, a VERY long time ago.

I was a cixen for quite a while (in fact, it is where this username originated) and that’s where I picked up the sed habit too, though sometimes also used it on Usenet (before that I was on Prestel :slight_smile: ).
I have to stop myself using the sed thing as I doubt people will understand it now.

But I very much digress!

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If you ask the RIAT PSO they have already prepared the official letter for this…


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For clarity, what sort of bidding deadline are people looking at for this? My reading of the admin order suggests April but my wing seems to want returns a lot sooner.

this is the question.

RIAT deadlines are always very different to our Wing ones.

TG21s typically required in June, but our Wing wanted them in April!

your best option is to consider the RIAT Calling notice which has the deadlines for the year listed and then consider your Wing POC/WExOs admin effectiveness/efficiency and apply a factor of time which they feel gives them enough time to hit the deadline

as i say, our Wing seem to require 4+ weeks covering their bum time…

Nope, not as a reply this morning. However, have just sent them a draft Commandant’s letter to them this morning. :wink:

Deadline from WHQs to respond is 24 Jan, so ours has asked for submissions by 17 Jan.

respond with what? Intentions? Nominations?
If the calling letter says wings won’t get an allocation until 31 Jan but the deadline for nominations to OC RIAT is 18 April, why would we be looking for cadet interest before the new year?

Sorry if this seems clear to those who have done this for years, but it doesn’t seem that clear to me.

Nominations - but just picked up a WHQ email today saying that staff bids were not included originally(!!), so nominations delayed by one week to 23 Jan.

Why so early?

i stand corrected, i know they were looking into before Christmas with the intention to have the letter complete for the New Year!

nope not clear at all.

there is an element of show us your interest, once we know who is interested we’ll allocate places based on this interest 31st January.
however recently there has been a standard 3 Staff and 23 Cadet Places per Wing, regardless of the size of the Wing*

in one way seems fair but means those at the tip of Cornwall or northest point of Scotland, have a higher chance of attending given the ratio of places:numbers in the Wing

there are some Wings who choose not to attend/nominate for RIAT though so the post 31st Jan may well take this into account.

I thought this was changing back to every year?

So every region and wing are able to apply for RIAT2020, the system didn’t work last year as we struggled for staff and cadets to apply.
The application process this year is

  1. Wings bid for places. Realistic numbers only. It’s up to Wings to decide if they want to attend or not, they are the ones who know how stretched their staff are with everything else that happens around July.
  2. Bids need to be in to us by 24th Jan. 1:5 ratio to be met
  3. We let wings know what they have been allocated by 31st Jan.
  4. Wings then let sqns know how many cadets and staff places there are.
  5. All the names are collected by the deadlines
  6. All the TG Forms are collected by the deadlines
  7. Reserves are brought forward if we are short on numbers. This usually happens around the end of May - beginning of June … which is key why Wings should be nominating reserves … and a lot of them !

Does that help everyone?


It helps me, but I’m not sure our wing understands the requirements or expectations, though perhaps they do.

Given your comments, I’m probably much younger than you (sorry!) but I have used sed on occasion too in some bash scripting… And I’m a Vim fan!