| EFT Introduction | DEFTS |
UASs | Tutor Sqn]
There are 14 University Air Squadrons spread throughout the UK, each one
linked to several universities within 50 or so miles of its airfield. They
were set up as early as 1925 by Lord Trenchard, the 'Father’ of the modern
Royal Air Force and they provide free flying training for selected students.
To join a UAS you must become a member of the Volunteer Reserve.
Membership entitles you to fly in military aircraft of the RAF and you must
also satisfy age, educational, and nationality requirements. Broadly
speaking this means you need to be:
Older than 17 and a half years on joining and younger
than 23 and a half years old on graduation.
A full time undergraduate with 2 A levels or
equivalent, studying for a first degree with at least 5 terms remaining
A citizen of the United Kingdom, the Commonwealth or
of the Republic of Ireland.
As undergraduates, your first priority is to study, get your degree and
enjoy university life, with all the advantages that undergraduate status
implies. Membership of the University Air Squadron falls into 2
Sponsored University Bursars (UBs).
Volunteer Reservists (VRs).
UBs are sponsored students, selected by the Directorate of Recruiting and
Selection (DofR&S). They are Officer Cadets (OCs) who receive a bursary, which
varies in value according to branch, on the understanding that they will, on
satisfactory completion of their degree studies and UAS training, join the
RAF for at least a short term commission (minimum 6 years ground, or 12 years
VRs are unsponsored officer cadets (OCs) of the RAFVR and as such are
eligible only for attendance pay, travel costs and messing allowance.
They have no formal commitment to join the RAF and can leave (or be
dismissed) the squadron at any time.
Students selected as pilot members fly an RAF training syllabus of up to
90 hours over three years. Students are expected to fly once a week
during term time and during vacations. At Summer, Easter,
and Christmas camps additional continuous flying instruction is made
available. The instructors are full time RAF officers, all of them
qualified flying instructor graduates of the RAF’s Central Flying School.The
flying syllabus teaches basic handling of the aircraft including circuits and
landings before students are sent on a ‘First Solo’ after about 15 hours,
sometimes less. Thereafter ‘the sky’s the limit’ and you will receive
expert instruction in all the flying disciplines of aerobatics, instrument
flying, navigation and formation flying, but not quite enough to qualify for
the Red Arrows
Aerobatics Team. The current UAS aircraft is the Tutor (pictured
above), manufactured by Grob GMbH of Germany, which has recently replaced the
British Aerospace Bulldog.
All students, flying and ground branch, are expected to do Ground
Training. Ground Training takes place on one evening per week in
term time and there is a requirement to complete two weeks of continuous
training each year, usually during the annual summer camp, in order to
qualify for a cash ‘bounty’ of between £100 and £155. The minimum
period of ground training is 40 hours in year 1, 30 hours in year 2 and 20
hours in year 3. Provision is made for Ground Branch Officers who will
not graduate as qualified pilots.
Sport and Adventurous Training
Sport is an integral part of service life and 38 sports are recognised by the
RAF, 32 of them receiving funding from Service sporting bodies. So it is in
the UASs. Inter-sqn competitions take place throughout the year and for
gifted students BAe offers financial assistance for people of national
sporting standards. Adventurous Training Centres in the UK and overseas are
available and UASs do engage in leadership training and personal development.
Cold weather survival, rock-climbing, sailing, windsurfing, skiing, mountain
biking and abseiling are all activities in which past students have become
involved, though many of these activities will require a not inconsiderable
personal contribution, especially if overseas travel is involved.
Membership of a sqn as a VR does not commit you to joining the RAF. You
need to be a good time manager to fit in the one half day a week for flying
and the one evening per week in term time for Ground Training, not forgetting
your continuous period of training during vacations. One thing is
certain; the sqn will become a much more important part of your life than you
imagined and you will gain far more from it than any other aspect of your time
as a student. Go on! Check the website of your UAS.
Joining a UAS
Recruitment to the UASs is carried out every year at the Freshers’ Fair
and during the Autumn term. After a preliminary filtering interview you
may be invited for a selection interview conducted at the University.
Successful candidates interviewed in October can be attested members of the
VR and flying by December with no absolute commitment to join the RAF.
Links to the University Air Squadrons
Joining the RAF
Many patriotic students are so attracted by the flying and the lifestyle,
that they apply for RAF sponsorship either through the UAS or through the Careers Information Service. This
necessitates a visit to the Officer and Aircrew Selection Centre (OASC) at
The RAF College Cranwell. Successful students may be offered a bursary worth
up to £4,000 pa in exchange for a commitment to take at least a Short Service
Commission (12 years for Pilots, 6 years for ground branches) after
graduation. Entry to a permanent commission guarantees pensionable employment
for 16 years. Pay rates for a Flying Officer starting from Feb 04 are £15,603
- £27,47 pa rising to the minimum rank of Flight Lieutenant (£31,853 - £37,883