2431 (Keighley) Squadron ATC get many different opportunities to go on a wide variety of courses. On these courses our Cadets can earn qualifications and/or new skills that will help them succeed in both a career in the RAF, and/or in personal development.

For Example:
The JNCO (Junior Non-Commissioned Officer) Course, provides Cadets with the skills to become an Officer in the RAF,
whereas the AOAC (Air Operations Acquaintance Center) Course provides Cadets with the basic piloting skills using expensive, realistic simulators. 

Click on a tab below to read more about a Course that 2431 (Keighley) Squadron ATC Cadets have been on.  

Air Cadet Leadership Course

Written by Cpl P Figg

From the 13th to 20th July 2013 I attended Course No. 99 of the Air Cadet Leadership Course (ACLC). The ACLC is a prestigious leadership training course held at RAF Cranwell, the heart of training for the Royal Air Force. The course is highly selective, with only 268 cadets attending the ACLC every year, out of a force of 48,000 cadets.

Course 99 began on the 13th July 2013, after being picked up at the train station the candidates were immediately thrown into the deep end, being told to memorise various phone numbers, names, and pass codes before being aggressively tested on them by the Course Warrant Officer. I was one of the lucky ones who passed after only two attempts, the majority took several attempts and up to two hours to successfully make it through the interview.

Saturday continued with drill and briefings from the Course Commander, Squadron Leader Westley. The drill was meant to assess the standard of the candidates’ ability to command a flight, in order for the Course NCOs to choose who would lead the flight on the passing out parade a week later.

Sunday began at 05:00 with a 1.5 mile run around the airfield to assess the candidates’ fitness levels; a small number of ill prepared people failed this section of the course, with the last person finishing 4 minutes after the required time. Following a brief cool down and breakfast in the Junior Ranks Mess the day continued in the same way as every day of the ACLC, with drill practice for Saturday’s Passing out Parade. Following this the separate flights embarked upon Exercise Singleton, a 20km walk intended to foster an esprit de corps within the flight. This exercise is intended to be difficult at the best of times, but was made harder by the fact that temperatures were in excess of 30 degrees; they remained ridiculously high for the remainder of the week.

Following the customary drill practice, Monday saw the beginning of the Phase One Command Tasks, which were intended to test the candidates’ basic leadership ability and understanding of leadership theory. At this stage the staff offered some constructive criticism and highlighted areas that needed improving upon, failure to improve in time for Phase Two would result in the candidate being sent home on the next train from Grantham.

Tuesday was the day of the Phase Two Command Tasks, which were intended to be more mentally and physically challenging than the Phase One Tasks, and were tailored specifically to each candidate in order to force them out of their comfort zone and into demonstrating the improvements they had made since Phase One. A briefing in preparation for Phase Three of the course was delivered in the early evening. This was followed by a Mid Course Interview, essentially this was to inform you as to whether or not you would be returning to the course for Phase Three or heading to the train station.

Wednesday saw the beginning of the two days long Phase Three, held in the field with cadets sleeping under bivees. The Phase Three Command Tasks were considerably longer and more challenging than those previously undertaken.

Thursday was a continuation of Phase Three; however the pace was increased dramatically, with some people breaking under the pressure being exerted on them by the Directing Staff. After the end of the Phase Three Command Tasks Exercise Top Dog began, this was made up of a physically and mentally demanding orienteering exercise followed by the infamously tough log run. Both of these activities were intended to assess how well the flight worked as a team and to help the Directing Staff choose a best flight; my flight performed brilliantly at this stage, finishing the orienteering exercise 30 minutes and ten points ahead of all the other flights. A Flight was also able to complete the log run in well under 20 minutes, with all members completing the course despite numerous injuries, a standard that was not equalled by any of the other flights. During the night there was a stark reminder of the dangers of the course and the dangers of being so physically active in such high temperatures when a member of D Flight had to be rushed to hospital with severe dehydration and heat exhaustion.

Early on Friday morning the Course broke camp and returned to RAF Cranwell for a day of drill and uniform preparation for Saturday’s Passing out Parade. Final Interviews were held in the afternoon to inform us of whether or not we had passed the course. More drill and uniform preparation followed with numerous people fainting from the heat, that evening a Course social evening was held in the station bar, with the staff and cadets relaxing for the first time in a week.

Saturday the 13th July was, as Warrant Officer Foster put it “the most important day of your lives”, we were going to graduate on the Parade Ground of College Hall Officer’s Mess (CHOM) an honour that is only given to graduates of the ACLC and of the Royal Air Force’s Initial Officer Training Course. The parade was executed immaculately and afterwards many of us took the opportunity to get a photo on the ‘hallowed ground’ of College Hall. Everyone was justifiably relieved and proud of what they had achieved, and I’m sure everyone on the course would agree that it was well worth the hard work.

ACLC was without doubt the best thing I have ever done with Air Cadets and possibly the greatest, most rewarding week of my life, made all the more enjoyable and informative by the hard work and continual witty banter from A Flight’s Commanding Officers - Squadron Leader Brock and Flying Officer Foster. It is a Course that I can thoroughly recommend applying to, I met countless great people, and despite all the hardship I am a better person as a result.

Air Operations Acquaintance Centre Stage 1

Written by Cdt L Towler

On this course we had an introduction to using flight simulators before being allowed on the £2000 simulators.

The course's aim is to teach Cadets a higher understanding of Air Operations, you simulate a flight in an F-16, which you have full control over. This course is about air-to-air combat, however, you also learn about all the aspects of the cockpit.

There is a team-work activity which will be presented at the end of the course. After the final practical session, in which you put all the skills you've learnt into practice, there is a reward for the best 'Top-Gun' (best pilot) and then everybody gets a really cool badge for your flying suit as well as a certificate.

With the best Staff and Instructors, you find your self shooting down target after target, immersed in a virtual reality.

Click the tab below to read about Stage 2!

Air Operations Acquaintance Center Stage 2

Written by Cdt L Towler

On this course we began to look at Take-off, Landing and Bombing.

It was easier this time, because we already knew the controls and people you're with from Stage 1.

We also did another Teamwork activity, which will be presented at the end of the course.

You learn about the other controls of the Aircraft, and details about Stalling, Throttle, and Controls. You already know the Staff, and they remember you, which creates a relaxed atmosphere to fly in the F-16 Simulator.

Like Stage 1, the best pilot was also awarded.

If you haven't already read about Stage 1, click the tab above.

Driffied Training Camp

Written by Cpl T Clayton, Cpl R Smillie and Cdt D Connell

On Friday 4th October, 2431 (Keighley) Squadron ATC sent 5 Cadets to Driffield Training Camp, in order to take part in 3 different Courses. We took part in the JNCO Course, the SNCO Course and the Radio Communications Course. Here is what the Cadets had to say about it:

Through Keighley Air Cadets we get the chance to go on several Camps and Courses throughout the year. Here we can learn or develop our Skills and gain Qualifications to help us in both our Air Cadet careers and future life. 

Radio Course:

The Radio Course was mentally challenging, however it was worth it! We learnt the NATO Phonetic Alphabet, Call signs and Radio procedures. We also got hands on with the Radios and got the chance to communicate with other people around the base to practice our skills, finally at the end of the weekend we had 2 exams a written exam on Radio and a practical exam were we could show of our new skills and pass the course, all 3 of us passed! – Cpl Smillie

JNCO Course:

The JNCO course was designed to get cadets to learn and practice the skills and qualities needed to become or be recognised as a JNCO, on this course we were taught the duties of an NCO and how they differ to a cadet and the skills needed to get to a JNCO role, we were taught how to take a squad of cadets and do some drill manoeuvres, we were also taught how to improve and maintain uniform and how to work as a team and also teach lessons. At the end of the weekend we were assessed on our uniform, how to take a drill squad and we were marked on our skills of talking about a subject, I got a lot out of this course and am starting to improve already, it was a great opportunity - Cdt Connell

SNCO Course:

This course was designed to teach you the roles and duties of a SNCO and how to carry out these roles, over the course of the weekend we were taught how to plan nights, activates and how to run them at a high standard, we also were taught how to teach drill and carry out uniform inspections, we also had several lessons were we all shared tips and experiences to help us all develop, at the end of the weekend we were assessed on our Uniform, a test on how to teach drill and how to plan a night. From this camp I have gained new skills and would advise anyone who is eligible to do the course as it was well worth it – Cpl Clayton

First Aid Course

Written by Cdt D Connell

On 17th-19th January 2013, Cpl Smillie and I attended a St John’s Youth First Aid Course at RAF Linton-on-Ouse.

We arrived at RAF Linton-on-Ouse at 5:45pm on Friday, three hours before everyone else. We consumed this time by working on Uniform (something that has to be good on an RAF Station). Others arrived from 8pm onwards. They were settled in their rooms. Throughout the rest of the night. We sat down in the briefing room in Thunderbird block, the building used for RAC Camps. Everyone started talking to each other whilst we watched a film. It was key to getting to know each other as it would make things less awkward the next day.

The real work started the day after. First we had to eat our breakfasts to help us get through the day ahead. One thing I like about camps is the food! We then marched to the block we would be learning first aid in. PowerPoint after PowerPoint, we learnt new things that are vital in everyday life because anyone could drop to the ground and be seriously injured. We practised our CPR Skills on a “Little Anne”, the doll used to practise and teach CPR on. We also got a chance to slap a Cadet Flight Sergeant practising our back slaps and abdominal thrusts with a special jacket. We also learned about Shock, diabetes and heart attacks. After we finished the rest of the day was ours.

We all changed into our Civvies and watched another film. A Cadet suggested that we ordered a Pizza, so we did. For the rest of the night we relaxed and made new friends with other Cadets from around Yorkshire.

Awake and ready for our exams, we went to the Halifax Block to go over everything we learnt the day before, as well as new things such as bites and stings. As the clock struck 1 o’clock, we were called into three rooms where we were assessed by RAF Officers. This was the chance to show our understanding of what we have learnt.

Cpl Smillie and I both passed the exams so we are now qualified First Aiders.

A First Aid Qualification can help if someone has been injured, as well as making your CV stand out from the rest. As well as gaining this qualification, we gained new friends. It's another Course I've done with the 2431 (Keighley) Squadron ATC which I wouldn't have done anywhere else.


Written by Sgt J Smith

QAIC stands for Qualified Aerospace Instructors Course. One of 2431 (Keighley) Squadron ATC's Cadets has been selected for this course, after passing a Selection Weekend.

The Course allows Sgt J Smith to develop skills in subjects such as Synthetic Flight, Air Traffic Control and Instructional Technique amongst others.

The Course takes place over a period of 6 months (one weekend every month followed by a graduation week in March).

This Qualification enables Sgt J Smith to not only improve his Aerospace knowledge but also, in turn, to teach Cadets these topics as well as running weekends at the Regional Activity Centre at RAF Linton-on-Ouse

Click on a link below to read about Sgt J Smith's progress through the course.

Selection Weekend - 7-9th September 2012

Weekend 1 - 21-23rd September 2012

Weekend 2 - 26-28th October 2012

Weekend 3 - 23-25th November 2012

Weekend 4 - 11-13th January 2013

Weekend 5 - 8-10th February 2013

Weekend 6 - 1-3rd March 2013

Assessment/Graduation Week - 22-28th March 2013

Sector JNCO Course

Written by Cdt L Towler

This was a day course on Leadership skills and everything else you need to be a Junior NCO, held at 2431 (Keighley) Squadron ATC on the 25th November.

The day started with an initial brief and an outlook at what the day would bring, then we were split into 6 groups. We had 2 hours of Drill and we were tested on how well we delivered our commands.

After that we had to put together a presentation that we would give at the end of the day to all the other Cadets. We also had a Table-Top exercise and a Command Task, where we would see who is a Natural Leader.

Overall the day gave each of us opportunities to practice a JNCO role and has made me ready for when I get promoted in the future. The skills I have learnt will stay with me through my Cadet career and give me an advantage at selection tests for the RAF.

In addition to this, I learnt the Communication, Discipline and Respect I will need in everyday life, which has developed me as a person.